The interview questions you choose to ask at the end of of your meeting tell hiring managers almost as much about you as your answers to their questions.
Unfortunately, the same “good” questions have become more and more widely used, meaning interviewers are now used to being asked things like, “What would my first month on the job look like?” or “What makes someone in this role highly successful?”
Don’t get me wrong, those are great—but they don’t distinguish you from the other candidates.
That’s why I’ve come up with five thoughtful, interesting, and most importantly, new options to pose during your next interview. Not only will you get some good insights, but you’ll be more memorable as well.
1. Which Experience Prepared You the Most for This One, and Why?
What This Says About You: You’ll learn quickly. Rather than starting from scratch, you’ll be actively focusing on applying what you’ve learned in previous positions to your new role.
What This Tells You: From the hiring manager’s answer, you should get a better sense of the office environment and how your future team operates.
Let’s say she responds, “I spent three years working for a small startup—that experience has come in handy, because even though this company is much bigger, we’ve got that startup, ‘If you see it, fix it’ ethos.’”
Well, that very plainly tells you this company values autonomy, humility, and initiative.
2. What Makes This Office Special?
What This Says About You: You’re not just looking for any job. You care about finding the right fit.
What This Tells You: Whether or not this company would be good for you, day in and day out.
Maybe the hiring manager says, “We’re all huge sports fans. Each month, the entire company attends a local game.” If you’d rather clean your bathroom than sit through a single inning of a baseball game, this probably isn’t the company for you.
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3. Why Are You Excited About Hiring a New Person in This Role?
What This Says About You: You care about your boss’ goals and how your work will drive the organization forward.
What This Tells You: Whether the hiring manager’s vision of the job aligns with yours, as well as what he or she prioritizes.
For example, you might be jazzed about this project analyst position because you want to identify and solve inefficiences. But the hiring manager says he’s looking forward to having someone be a liaison between multiple departments.
4. I Know One of Your Company Values Is [Value Here]. How Does That Manifest Itself in the Workplace?
What This Says About You: You want to work somewhere with integrity—and you understand the difference between intentions and actions. Also, you did your research!
What This Tells You: If the hiring manager can’t give you a good answer, that’s a clue the organization is, well, talking the talk without walking the walk.
Here’s what a good answer might look like:
“Yes, one of our core values is openness, and openness definitely influences much of how we do things. Every Friday, our entire team gets together for a town hall meeting where anyone can ask anything they’d like. I can’t remember a single time our CEOs have rejected a question. Also, we use Slack to communicate, and unless a conversation is clearly sensitive or confidential, it takes place in one of our public channels.”
5. What’s the Typical Leadership Style Here?
What This Says About You: You’re looking for a productive, mutually beneficial relationship between you and your supervisor.
What This Tells You: Whether or not your working style will mesh with your (maybe) boss’.
To give you an idea, perhaps you’re a big fan of regular feedback and would rather have too much direction than too little. If the hiring manager says, “We spend a lot of time getting new employees up to speed and making sure they have all the tools necessary to be successful,” you’re probably going to get along swimmingly. However, if she says, “We believe people do their best when they’re working independently and don’t have someone constantly looking over their shoulder,” then you might want to reconsider.
Which question will you be using in your next interview? Tell me on Twitter!
TopicsInterviewing for a Job , Job Search , Syndication , Finding a Job , Challenge Yourself by Aja Frost
Photo of interview courtesy of Shutterstock.