6 Top Questions to Ask During Your Interview
Be the candidate that stands out with intelligent questions
Congratulations! You’ve made it through the preliminaries, and your interview is scheduled. Now, all that remains is to ace your meeting with the hiring manager and secure the position.
Successful job-seekers know preparing for an interview is crucial and go to great lengths to do their homework on the company and the industry.
But there’s one part of the process that often gets ignored. When the interviewer turns to the candidate and says, “Is there anything you’d like to ask?” this is the point where the dynamic shifts.
If the candidate replies, “No, thank you, I think you covered everything,” they’ve just thrown away a golden opportunity to ace the interview. At the very least, by not asking questions the job-seeker may be demonstrating an absence of analytical skills or a complacent attitude.
But having intelligent, probing questions to ask during your interview will give a hiring manager further insights into your abilities as an applicant. And this is where candidates find out specifics about the company that isn’t being revealed yet.
Asking the right questions pays off
If you’re an experienced job hunter, you’ll understand the edge you gain by asking the right questions at the interview. Many a key position has gone to the candidate who asks their interviewer comprehensive, perceptive and well thought out questions.
How else can you show hiring managers that you are intellectually curious and serious about learning? How will you highlight the homework you’ve done to find out if the role and company are right for you?
That moment when you’re asked if you have any questions is your chance to display your breadth of market knowledge and industry savvy. This isn’t the time for basic questions that will let slip you haven’t done the necessary groundwork. Thus, your questions should reflect your interest in helping the business achieve its goals.
If the competition is fierce, the candidate’s questions may be the only difference that sets applicants apart. When the hiring manager is facing a tough decision, the candidate that stands out will be the one with the most impressive questions.
A skillful interviewer can assess a job seeker’s intelligence by the questions they ask. Here are six questions to ask during your interview to land your dream job.
1) How does the company celebrate a big new account win or celebrate achieving important strategic milestones?
When the company has a win, how do they recognize it? Are corporate wins or individual milestones ignored? If a team’s accomplishments go unrecognized, what kind of message does that send about leadership? Businesses that take the time to celebrate the wins experience better motivation, a unified workforce, and stronger teams.
This shows that you are curious about whether the company cares about transparency in growth, and how publicly and openly they recognize employee achievement.
2) Describe the KPI’s used to measure employee productivity.
How does the company measure success? You have an overview of what they expect in the position but how do they evaluate the performance? What metrics do you use to define accomplishments? Will these KPI’s change as we move forward?
You are goal-oriented, and by asking this question, you communicate your readiness to be held accountable for those goals. Many companies only have a vague idea of the scope of the work that needs doing. If there is only a vague understanding of the work involved, this is how you will know.
Having a solid grasp of what the position needs enables you to execute on it. And an interest in these indicators shows that you understand that every employee’s value can be measured in ways that are unique to their contribution, but equal in their impact.
3) From the outside, it appears to me you invest a lot in product innovation. Does it feel that way from the inside?
Every business needs to pursue innovation for growth. Corporate growth and product innovation through R&D are the building blocks of investor and shareholder value. And they are as relevant for tech as for consumer-based businesses.
Moreover, here you demonstrate your solid understanding of product innovation as a major driver of investor and shareholder returns, and you want to know that it’s not just for show.
4) Your category is facing challenges due to XYZ market conditions. How are you defending your company against those conditions?
Whatever the challenge, it’s how the business responds to that challenge that is the big issue. Not only does this show that you have done your homework, but — most importantly — you have the courage to express an opinion.
5) What does success in this position look like?
What will the impact be on my team and the business after a successful year on the job?
Even jobs that share a title can vary dramatically from one firm to another. By identifying the goals and expectations for a role, candidates can see whether their experience aligns with the task.
This question looks at the expectations of candidates around their position in the company. If success means taking the company in a direction you’re not comfortable with or that you don’t like then you won’t be right for the job.
6) What’s the long-term plan for growth and what are the challenges you face in getting there?
This suggests that you know about the various pathways companies can take to grow and that they all face obstacles in getting there. Asking the interviewer to share them with you can be enlightening.
Having the hiring manager open up to you about existing problems lets you decide if your skills are a good match for the job. You can evaluate the headaches that may impact the position and then send the message that you are ready to help fix current obstacles in the business.
This can be a great closing question for an interview. Psychology tells us that sharing problems releases tension. By helping the interviewer reduce stress, you’re also creating a bond between your interviewer and you as a candidate leaving a positive impression.
Use these interview tips to your best advantage so that you’ve prepared questions to ask during your interview if you want to land the job. The question period gives candidates a chance to gather insights into whether the company is a good fit for their skills. In a way, this section of the interview — where the candidate can ask questions — is a test. Ask generic or self-serving questions here, and you fail!
So try to keep your questions specific to the business and its strategy. Show a keen interest in the future of the firm, company growth, and corporate culture while showcasing the skills you have that will benefit the organization in the future.
If you’re a recruiter looking to improve your interview process, you can read more here on 5 easy steps to do that.