When trying to fill a role, hiring managers will often spend day after day in interviews meeting candidate after candidate. How can you stand out from the crowd? A simple way to make an impact on the interviewer, and learn more about your potential employer, is to ask a question at the end of an interview (and don’t forget to send a thank you email after). Based on the time allotted for questions, you may have the opportunity to ask more than one, so it’s a good idea to prepare 3-5 questions in advance.
This top tip from our recruiters applies regardless of whether you’re looking for work in construction, HR, marketing or IT (and while you’re here…we’re hiring for all these industries, and more).
When preparing for your interview, include questions that:
- Highlight your skills and show why you’re the right candidate for the job
- Help eliminate any concerns you might have about the workplace
- Give the interviewer an opportunity to learn more about you
Here are 5 questions that will help you stand out and give you useful insights about your future employer.
1. What has been your proudest moment as a leader at this company?
Ask when: You want to learn more about the organization’s leadership and management style.
This question is a win-win in our books. It gives the interviewer a chance to share meaningful work experience, and their answer will provide you with an in-depth look into the leadership culture of the organization. Depending on their answer, you’ll gain insights into whether they work collaboratively or independently, what skills are important for leaders in the company, and how you’ll work alongside your future manager. This is a great question to ask when you want to uncover whether this person’s leadership style reflects what you are looking for in your next boss.
2. Is there anything I haven’t answered today to help you decide if I’m the right candidate?
Ask when: You want to address any gaps in your answers or areas of concern that they may have.
While asking this question can feel bold, it demonstrates that you aren’t afraid to ask tough questions. Plus, it will give you a chance to address their concerns in the moment vs. leaving them to mull over any potential gaps in the post-interview huddle. If you’re planning to ask this question, be prepared. Brush up on your related work experience and try to anticipate follow-up questions. And don’t feel the need to rush your answer; take your time to address their concerns thoughtfully.
3. What do you personally like most about working for this company and is there something you find challenging?
Ask when: You want to get insights into the corporate culture – the highs and the lows.
This is a simple question that will help you learn more about the perks of working for the company and the potential drawbacks. Do they love the corporate culture? The flexibility? The opportunities to be creative? Their answer to the first part of this question will tell you what you can look forward to if you are the successful candidate. The second part of the question will help you identify any red flags. What type of challenges do they identify? Are they related to people management (high turnover, capacity issues) or are they more role-specific (issues with audience targeting, challenges with new technology). Every organization is going to have challenges, but it’s helpful to understand what those challenges are and which ones you’re comfortable handling in your day-to-day work.
4. Are there opportunities for further training and professional development in this role?
Ask when: You want to understand the organization’s commitment to your growth.
Your professional growth is always important – no matter the stage of your career. Lifelong learning is something that will always benefit you and it’s important to understand how your employer will support it. This question is great because it shows the interviewer that you’re open to growth and upskilling while helping you understand what they offer in terms of classes or development.
5. What new initiatives and changes are on the horizon for the organization? How would my role support them?
Ask when: You want to demonstrate your excitement and learn more about the growth plans of the organization.
This question is great for you and the employer. As the interviewee, it gives you the chance to understand where the organization is going, how it’s growing, and how your role will support this growth. For the interviewer, it demonstrates that you’re excited about the role and the future of the organization. Plus, it shows that you’re forward-thinking about your role and how it contributes to their overall success.
BONUS QUESTION: What do the most successful people here do differently than everyone else?
Ask when: You want to understand what skills the organization values.
We love this question because it’s unique, will help you stand out, and it will leave you with valuable insights. The answer to this question will show you what skills the organization values in its team members. With that information in hand, you can emphasize those skills in future interviews with the company and put them into practice once you land the job.
With these questions in hand, you’re ready to make a lasting impression at your next interview.
Remember, an interview is a conversation: make sure to listen thoughtfully, respond to the interviewer’s answers and incorporate specific details they mentioned to show you were paying attention. Good luck!