How to Understand a Candidate’s Career Goals

Finding qualified candidates to fill an open position at your company can be quite a challenge, but that’s only half the battle. Once you get them in your office for an interview, you need to ask all the right questions to ensure they’re a good fit. The hiring process is costly and time-consuming, so you want to choose a candidate who is committed to your company for the long haul — not someone just looking for a way to pay the bills until a better job comes along. Dig deep by asking pointed questions that reveal the person’s true intentions.


Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

If you’re hiring a psychiatrist, you don’t want someone who hopes to be a successful actress five years down the road. This question helps you gauge the level of commitment the person will have to your company, if hired. Choose the candidate who says they hope to be taking on challenging projects and constantly learning, so they can grow their career at your company. The answer doesn’t need to be too specific, as long as it’s clear the candidate is looking for a place to put down roots.

What Drives Your Passion for the Work?

In the behavioral health field, you need a team of employees who are passionate about helping others. Professionals who are truly committed this line of work are excited to tell anyone who will listen about the reasons they truly love their jobs. If the candidate hesitates or seems unsure about why they want the position, it’s probably not part of their long-term plan. Choose someone whose passion for the work is undeniable.

If You Could Have Any Job in the World, What Would You Choose?

This is a bit of a trick question that’s similar in nature to the one above. You want to hire someone who can’t picture themselves in any other position than the job they’re interviewing for. If their dream job isn’t something your company could ever offer, they’re probably not a good choice. Your company will achieve best results if you have a staff filled with people whose hearts aren’t somewhere else.

What Would Your Current Employer Need to Do for You to Stay?

The candidate’s response to this question can help you find out why their current employer doesn’t have what it takes to meet their career goals. The best responses will be career-focused, including things like offering them a position in management or providing regular training opportunities. Take it as a red flag if anyone says more money or a bigger office would be enough for them to accept a counteroffer, as you don’t want someone who is motivated by matters that have nothing to do with the job itself.

It’s important to hire a candidate who wants to build a future at your company. To learn more about how we can help you find top behavioral health talent, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at

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