We’ve all been on the receiving end of that question in an interview — and if you’re prepared, you’ve probably got some good questions you usually cycle through.
But we want to be better than “good” in an interview. We want to be standout candidates that hiring managers are excited to extend an offer to. Here are some questions that’ll make hiring managers’ ears perk up — try them at your next interview and see how the conversation changes.
It’s not terribly difficult to find a candidate that can execute on a role. It is terribly difficult to find a candidate that can not only execute, but also understand how their role fits into larger goals so they can self-manage, prioritize high-value activities, and grow their role in a direction that aligns with the company’s growth.
How It Helps You: This information can be hard to come by if your company isn’t very communicative or transparent, so this is a good chance to get that information while the gettin’s good, and use it to guide your decisions if you land the role.
This question shows that you’re the type of person who likes to hit the ground running, instead of spending a week filling out HR forms. It also shows that you recognize patterns of success and want to replicate only the most effective performers.
How It Helps You: Every company has its weird nuances, its own environment, its own unspoken expectations. This helps you start with a little bit of the insider info so you don’t suffer a case of “if I knew then what I knew now” in six months.
Asking a question like this shows that you’re goal-oriented and aren’t afraid to be held accountable for those goals. You don’t shirk accountability — you welcome it, and will work hard to hit the goals for which you’re responsible.
How It Helps You: It’s shocking how many people don’t actually know what they want from their employees beyond a vague idea of some work that needs to get done. Asking this question will force a hiring manager to figure it out — and then can communicate it to you, so you can execute on it.
A question like this indicates that you’re already envisioning yourself in the role, and thinking through a plan of attack should you land the gig. It’s also a sign that you’re well aware no job comes free of roadblocks, and not only are you not afraid to deal with those challenges, but you’re also prepared for them.
How It Helps You: You’ll be informed of some of the less-than-ideal aspects of a new job, be it difficult colleagues, bureaucratic processes, or internal politics. You can use that information to decide that the role really isn’t a good fit for you … or that you’re up for the challenge, armed with approaches to help you deal with those issues.
This question gives an interviewer a chance to do two self-serving things: 1) talk about themselves and 2) do a no-holds-barred sales pitch on the company. For promising candidates, the sales opportunity is welcomed. And most people love any excuse to talk about themselves. 😉
How It Helps You: This gives you insight into what motivates your future colleague or manager, as well as insight into what the company offers its employees. If those all line up with what you’re looking for in a job, you’ve got yourself a good fit.
Ever work with people that just get it? That’s who hiring managers are looking for. This question demonstrates that you understand a job is about more than just going through the motions … successful people have a specific frame of mind, approach, attitude, work ethic, communication style, etc. and you want to know what that mix looks like at this company.
How It Helps You: Because these characteristics are often hard to pin down, this question forces a hiring manager to articulate that “it factor” they’re really looking for — even if it wasn’t written in the job description.
This question shows that you’re not afraid of critical feedback — in fact, you welcome it.
People also do weird things sometimes in interviews. One of those weird things is that they see a red flag on your resume or in one of your responses to a question, and they note it down to talk about later with a colleague instead of just asking you about it. I know, I told you it was weird. This question gives them the green light to ask about any of the things that are holding them back from being 100% on board with hiring you.
How It Helps You: You get a chance to address concerns face-to-face without being too confrontational. This could be the difference between an offer and a rejection — or maybe even a higher opening offer.
Please share some other interview questions you like to hear as a hiring manager in the comments, and explain why it’s so helpful or encouraging to hear from a candidate.