Looking to impress at your next interview? Ask these unique questions at the end of your interview.
You've spent a lot of time preparing answers for your upcoming interview. You've aced the pre-interview competency test, reviewed commonly asked tricky questions, and researched the prospective employer. You're ready to answer any question a hiring manager could ask — but have you planned questions to ask your interviewer when they inevitably ask, “Do you have any questions for me?”
You aren't ready for the interview if you don't have questions ready for the interviewer
You need to have questions ready and prepared for your interviewer for this moment. Having a thoughtful and unique question, or set of questions, to ask an interviewer shows you're engaged in the process, interested in the job, and leaves a lasting positive impression.
The moment you get asked “Do you have any questions?” is a make-or-break moment in the interview, so we wanted to prepare you with compelling and unique questions to ask sourced from the answers provided by all types of hiring managers over on Quora.
Here's what they had to say.
“If you could trade your boss for the hiring manager, would you?”
This question was asked of Jacob Kerr, an executive recruiter at TRANSEARCH International. He recalls, “I've never been asked that question again, but it's so fresh in my mind. If I wouldn't work for a hiring manager, how could I possibly sell that role to a candidate?”.
If you aren't being interviewed by your hiring manager directly, but rather a recruiter or someone else within the company, this provocative question can help you assess the company culture and gain insight into what your potential new boss might be like. It opens the door for further conversation around management styles and what you're looking for in your ideal boss.
“Where is the last person that held this position now?”
Antoinette Merriweather says she uses this question to help understand her potential trajectory at a company. If upward mobility within an organization is important to you, understanding if the person who used to hold your role left for a better opportunity or was fired due to poor performance versus getting promoted into a new role can help you assess what your future with the company might look like, too.
Antoinette pairs this inquiry with several others to give herself more information: “Once I hear the reason(s) for their departure, I'll elaborate on my query by explaining, 'I just wanted to know if, or how long, I would have access to him/her for training so I can thoroughly pick their brains and hopefully learn some of the subtle little nuances that they've gleaned while working here.'”
“It shows the interviewer that I'm eager to learn about the position and I want to do as good — or better — a job as my predecessor. However, if I learn that my predecessor was a horrible employee and their work performance should not be duplicated, I will ask, 'What can I do to assure that I don't make those same errors?' Once again, demonstrating an eagerness to succeed.”
“Do you see any reasons why I'm not a good fit for this position?”
Directly asking for feedback about why you might not be a perfect fit for a role can help you address your perceived shortcomings head on.
By taking a cue from “thick skin thinking,” you'll not only be able to impress the interviewer with a direct request for feedback, but you'll be able to use their reply to help improve your skills and performance in interviews with other companies, too.
“How long has this position been open?”
This practical question can help give you insight into where the company is in the hiring process and how important the role is to the company's success.
Palak Sharma, a human resources professional, notes: “If the job has been open for a year or more then it gives the idea to the candidate that either nobody is interested, the hiring recruiter is too choosy in selecting the candidate, or the recruiter keeps on changing the requirements and doesn't know what he/she is looking for.”
You can also use this question as a means to spark a discussion around the timeline for hiring and when to expect next steps. If a position has only been open for a few days, you might expect to wait a little longer as the hiring manager or recruiter evaluates more candidates.
“What makes you happy working here?”
After salary and benefits, company culture is most often cited as the reason why job-seekers decide whether or not to accept a certain job offer. Asking your interviewer what makes them happy at work offers you a glimpse at what the company culture is like. Is it the free snacks that the company offers? Workplace flexibility? Wonderful camaraderie between colleagues? The open-ended nature of the question allows the interviewer to answer personally — and by extension, offers you the opportunity to establish a personal connection, too.
Conversely, if it's difficult for the hiring manager to put together a response, or the answer is vague and insipid, then right away you have a sense that perhaps the workplace is toxic or the team might not be the best fit for you.
Asking the right questions during your interview is critical to landing the coveted offer, and these unique conversation starters are ones to consider when preparing for your next interview. Asking the right questions also communicates your competence, highlights that you're seriously interested in the job, and helps you determine if the workplace is the right fit for you.
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