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Assessing Candidate Commitment

We’ve recently been hearing more and more about the topic of “candidate commitment” from clients who are dealing with candidates pulling out of final-stage selection processes. 

You know who I mean; the candidates that seem really interested in a role, say all of the right things and then at the last moment, when you offer them the job, they decide they’re not interested.

If this is the kind of thing you’ve had issues with, click through the link below for a list of interview questions to assist you in uncovering how committed a candidate is to making geographical job moves and/or accepting a job offer. 

It seems to be a feeling that weighs heavily with people in the global climate of uncertainty & will likely persist for a while yet, hence the need for qualifying questioning at the start of the process, rather than after investing time, effort & dollars into a candidate who isn’t going to take the offer.

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 Interview Questions to Assess a Candidate’s Commitment to your Role

1. What aspects of the role do you think you’ll like? And which will you dislike?

This will give you a little bit of insight into how much the candidate will actually enjoy the role once they start. And whether they did their research & truly understand what they’ve applied for.

2. Why do you think this job would be different/better than your current job?

This is a good question because it should reveal why the job candidate is actually looking for a new job in the first place. They must have a reason for wanting to leave and they must think that your company would be better – find out why.

3. What did you like about your last job?

Firstly, you don’t want a candidate who says “everything” (so… why are you leaving?). Secondly you don’t want a candidate who says “nothing” (why so negative?). What you’re looking for is someone in-between; a balanced answer that reflects some of things the new role will offer.

4. Tell me what you know about our Company.

Another way to test a candidate’s commitment is to see how well they prepared for the interview. A committed, passionate and proactive job candidate will have taken a lot of time, prior to the interview to find out more about the company. So the above question, along with the following…

“Who are our competitors?”

“What do you know about the role?”

“Tell me what you think about our culture.”

5. What did you like or dislike about our website?

Asking a more specific question like the one above or something like this…

“With our ethos in mind, tell me why you think you’d be a good fit for our business?”

“What are the differences between our company and your current/past company?”

…will give you more of an idea on how prepared your candidate is (and therefore how passionate they are.)

These are much tougher (because they’re so specific) so it is worth bearing in mind the kind and seniority of the role when you consider asking them.

6. Where else are you interviewing?

Find out if they are interviewing for similar roles in the same industry as yours or for a broad range of roles across all industries. If the latter is the case, their commitment to your role may not be as strong.

Have you ever made recruitment decisions you lived to regret?  Are you given recruitment responsibilities on top of your day job and struggle to find time to do it all?  Get our compact Accountant & Bookkeeper Recruitment Guide for free.   


An easy reference document covering the whole process from scoping the Job Description for upcoming vacancies, right through to making better job offers than your competitors and sealing the deal, and every step in between.  Written by Accounting firm Partners, HR/People Management professionals within the accounting and bookkeeping sector and drawing on established and emerging best practice in selection techniques in Australasia, the UK and US, you can have access to a wealth of practical recruitment and selection knowledge and links to external expertise and reusable templates whenever you need it.

About the Authors

Giles Pearson FCA was a PwC Partner for 18 years before jointly setting up Accountests.  

Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before setting up Accountests.

Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests designed by accountants for accountants and bookkeepers.

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