Employers take tremendous value in the questions you ask during an interview because they will reveal your level of preparation, engagement, and curiosity for the position. Quit focusing on yourself and how your personal needs will be addressed in the role. Instead, ask stimulating questions to produce a quality conversation that reveals you are invested in the team’s betterment and showcases your unique value.
Captivate your interviewer and position yourself as the ideal candidate by asking these five questions:
“What Efforts Does Your Organization Take To Uphold Its Culture & Values?”
Asking this question shows you take immense value in the company’s work environment and management style. As the candidate, you need to be sure their answer aligns with your most coveted factors and that you can visualize long-term growth. To the employer, it reveals you are not simply looking to jump on the first opportunity thrown your way. Awaiting an opportunity that aligns with your skill-set, core principles, and career aspirations displays yourself as an employee worth pursuing.
“Everyone will tell you that their culture is great, but only examples will prove it.” -Abby Kohut
Does their corporate culture and philosophy prioritize employee happiness and work-life balance? When conflict arises, it is a make-or-break scenario for management to either show authentic leadership or to ensue greater chaos. A poor leader will shut down and pass blame, often leading to a toxic work environment. An admirable leader will set the standard for accountability and turn away from his/her selfish tendencies. Ask your interviewer to share a recent example of when conflict arose and how it got resolved, or create a scenario for them.
“What Goals Do You Have in Mind For Me Within The First Few Months?”
Not all job descriptions are as reliable as the hiring manager or recruiter may claim. Not only should you verify the specific responsibilities, but you should seek to understand the specific goals they have within a 30-60-90 (Learning-Contributing-Leading) day plan. Are the goals realistic and quantifiable, or are they more generalized and open to interpretation? Asking about current projects and objectives within the role shows that you are an achiever, a hard worker, and eager for more responsibility. Additionally, it is your best chance at receiving an ‘inside look’ into a future with the company.
As the interviewee, you must also be prepared for the scenario of the hiring manager posing this question to you. If you are serious about the job, you can truly set yourself apart by following a similar model in your 30-60-90-day plan. By setting performance goals, learning goals, personal goals, and clear initiatives, you reveal a willingness to work hard and an eagerness to ‘hit the ground running.’ As a result, you will undoubtedly secure competitive advantage as you enter the final interview stages.
“What Do You Like Most About This Company?”
Your interviewer has insight into the company’s strengths, weaknesses, management style, and overall sense of camaraderie. Posing this question naturally gives them the platform to talk about themselves and the topics they know best. They are likely used to hearing this question and know that there is no excuse for a lackluster response. If their response entices you, hitting on key metrics surrounding company values, culture, reputation, and open communication, you can rest assured that no one’s time is being wasted in this process. However, if their answer lacks quality, it is an immediate red flag to your potential job satisfaction and may indicate it is time to move on.
“What New Problems Are You Facing & How Can I Contribute?”
Inquiring on the specifics of other current challenges the company faces (that you have not already addressed) is a great way to start a serious conversation. Your interviewer will not only be able to provide information but share his/her specific opinion as well. Subjecting yourself to the ways your interviewer can see your skill-set being incorporated into their present challenges is a vulnerable proposition but conjointly reveals subtle confidence in your capabilities.
*Pro-Tip* Ask for examples of team chemistry and how the team collaborates daily. Diving into these details will cause your interviewer to picture you as a part of their organization and reveal you as a true team player.
“Where Do You See Your Company in Five Years?”
Is this company your long-term home? Examining the company’s future provides insight into what makes the company tick. Furthermore, you can uncover whether you would be a fit long-term based on their response. For example, suppose the company reveals no plans to increase in size or expand into new markets. In that case, you have the grounds to fear becoming stagnant in your career. Conversely, suppose their plans to expand into new markets involved shipping you across the country to head up a new branch. In that case, you must be sure that you are open to that prospective scenario.
Asking about the future gives a positive impression to your interviewer because it shows you are thinking about the big picture. In fact, former Goldman Sachs’ Chief of Staff & current Solemates Co-Founder, Becca Brown, revealed to Business Insider that she often wished candidates would ask this question. Brown also stated it was a “great way for candidates to stand out.” Asking this question places stock behind the statement “I see myself here long-term,” because it signifies their answer did not scare you away.