How to Recognize an Ambitious Candidate 

Ambition is a desirable trait in a job candidate. It means the application is interested in working hard, getting ahead, learning new skills, and all kinds of other positive character traits. It’s hard to find the right candidate for almost any job, but it’s harder to find the cream of the crop candidate that exhibits the will to succeed. This article will help you use behavioral questions to spot these candidates for your organization. 

Finding the Ambitious Candidate 

Looking at a person’s resume is only the first step in the employee-hunting game. But beware of making too many assumptions around the candidate resumes you screen. For example, you may look at a candidate who has an MBA and assumes they have a lot of get-up and go. But maybe it was just a way to delay the inevitable process of job searching because they didn’t know what they wanted to do? Asking the right questions can help you determine if your assumptions were the right ones. 

Looking for an ambitious candidate almost certainly requires you to back up the candidate’s excellent resume with a series of pointed questions to determine their character traits. Behavioral questioning allows you to probe into work-related situations the candidate experienced and get to know them based on these experiences. It’s the best way to see if these potential employees exhibit the skills and character traits you’re seeking.

Some of the behavioral questions we like include: 

  • What are your goals in the next three years? 
  • Have you ever experienced a time when you felt like your workload was overwhelming? How did you handle it? 
  • Describe a time in your career when you were faced with multiple simultaneous deadlines. What did you do? 
  • Have you ever come up with ideas for improving the efficiency of your team? What were the ideas and what happened? 
  • How do you prioritize your work? 
  • What are the top three things you do every day to stay motivated? 
  • What was the best idea you ever gave your manager? 
  • What is your biggest accomplishment at work? 
  • How do you react where there are hurdles in front of your goals? 
  • Describe a really good day at work? 
  • Have you ever worked with a team that was unmotivated? What was that like? 
  • Tell me about your favorite job on your resume. What was that like? 
  • Tell me about your least favorite job on your resume. What happened? 


A candidate’s internal motivations should match the job they’re applying to. If you’re looking for an ambitious candidate, it’s important to tailor your screening processes to help find these candidates. However, do some internal soul searching to determine if the environment you’re putting the new hire into is right for the candidate’s goals. Is the work environment one where your new ambitious candidate will thrive? Is your work environment one that will retain ambitious employees by giving them fulfilling tasks to tackle? Matching the position to the candidate will help you improve your hiring process. 

Pride Staff can help your organization find the perfect match. We have a ready pool of high-quality candidates just waiting on your call. Contact us.