10 Questions to Ask a Temporary Candidate During the Job Interview

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Temporary hiring can be useful for companies dealing with economic volatility and other challenges. It is a practical solution to meet the seasonal upsurge of orders, employee shortages, or to complete short-term projects on a limited budget. A temporary workforce can also be a great asset to companies grappling with tight delivery schedules.

However, getting the right candidates for the requisite positions is often a big challenge which needs the implementation of a rigorous selection strategy. Below we list 10 questions that hiring managers could put to candidates to assess their suitability for the role. Use this guide to evaluate various temp candidates and select the best fit for the job.

1.Tell me about yourself.

It is a good question to break the ice and get started. It will give a brief overview of the candidate’s career graph, passions, strengths and accomplishments. Remember the 7-38-55 formula where 7% stands for content, 38% for voice and tone and 55% for body language? Follow it closely for an insight into the suitability of the candidate.

2. Why are you interested in this assignment?

 This question enables you to judge how keen they are to take up the job. You can also ascertain how much of their passions and values are aligned with the core values of the organisation. Once you get an idea about this, you can assess their commitment and tell how well they will fit into the role.

3. Do you have all the mandatory skills required for the position?

On getting a quick recap of their education, job experience and motivations, you will obtain a fair picture of the candidate’s career graph and commitment level. Now it is time to turn to the next aspect of the interview which is an assessment of technical skills. This is important because there will hardly be any time to train the candidate in the task. You may follow this up with specific technical queries to test whether the candidate does have the technical knowledge which they claim to have.

4. Describe a difficult situation you faced at work and how you dealt with it.

This is a behavioural question designed to elicit how the candidate behaves in a stressful situation. Keeping a cool head in stressful situations is one of the key attributes to look for in temporary hires as they regularly need to deal with pressure. Through this answer, you will be able to assess whether the candidate is able to remain calm in the face of adversity or begins to lose the plot when the going gets tough.

5. Describe a time when you succeeded in reaching a goal.

This is a convenient way to know whether a person sets goals as well as how they go about achieving them. Many people do not set goals or lay emphasis on priorities in life. As a hiring manager, you should look for focussed, determined individuals who follow a well-defined process in life to become achievers not only for themselves but for the bigger cause of the companies for which they are hired.

6. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond your call of duty.

It is an important question for temporary hires as they may be required to work harder or put in extra hours to meet peak season demand and tight delivery schedules. The answer will throw light on whether the candidate is willing to put in the extra effort to meet the business target.

7. Tell me about a time you’ve had to quickly adjust to a new environment.

Temping requires the candidate to be highly flexible and adjust to new environments so that they can demonstrate their productivity in a short span of time. Adjusting to new environments is not an easy task as it requires a shift in mindset. Employees will need to get used to new devices/tools/instruments, new colleagues, and new managers apart from an entirely new work culture. Candidates who are adaptable are more likely to start generating ROI quickly for the company.

8. Describe how you work with others.

The ability to make friends early and get along well is a key trait that is required to excel in a temporary role. The candidate’s answer to this question will indicate how skilled they are at interpersonal relations which play a large role in influencing work performance and ROI.

9. Why do you temp?

Through this question, you can understand if the candidate has any major personality flaw that is preventing them from getting a permanent job. The candidate should be able to provide a satisfactory answer to this question. Anything that does not sound correct or convincing should be seen as a red flag.

10. Do you have any questions to ask us?

Allow the interviewee to open up, speak, and seek answers to their queries. It will give you an insight into how they perceive the role while helping them clarify any doubts that they might have. Sometimes, candidates ask highly perceptive questions that are not easily answerable. The quality of the questioning will provide you with information regarding the intelligence and capabilities of the candidate.

Throughout the course of the interview, you should pay special heed to the candidate’s communication skills as it will indicate how effective they will be in discharging their duties. Good communication skills enable a worker to coordinate their activities, confidently participate in discussions, and contribute to the overall outcome.

Temporary hiring of the workforce is only effective when you choose the right people. It is important to probe well to uncover any signs that might hamper the candidate from discharging their duties. It is true that temporary candidates are pre-screened by the temping agency. But it is equally the responsibility of the hiring company to assess the suitability of the candidate in the best interests of the company.

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