Most people ask the same generic questions in their interviews…
If you want to stand out in your interview, you should aim to ask the employer a couple of unique questions that nobody else has asked. This is how you’ll stick in their mind, make them remember you, and get more job offers.
So to help with this, I’m going to share 26 unique interview questions to ask an employer… based on my experience as a recruiter.
Let’s get started…
1. What’s one thing you’re hoping a new person can bring to the role?
This question is a great one to ask employers for a few reasons. First, it shows that you’re focused on coming in and helping them. And it also shows that you’re looking to come in and bring a new spark or new ideas, rather than just copying what everyone else is doing.
Asking this question will quickly show the hiring manager or recruiter that you’re smart, proactive, and different than the other candidates they’ve seen.
2. What is something that the most successful people in this role do differently than everyone else?
This shows the hiring manager that you’re thoughtful, different, and genuinely interested in being a top-performer in this job.
This will make them excited to hire you and will help differentiate you from other job seekers.
This question shows them that you’re focused on coming in and being successful… before they’ve even offered you the job, which will help you get hired.
3. What does it take to be successful here?
Like the questions above, asking this question shows the employer that you’re not just trying to find a paycheck and be an average performer; you’re aiming to be the best.
This is the type of person they want to place into a new position! Someone who’s going to be working hard from day one to make sure they succeed. This makes the hiring team a lot less worried about you failing in the role, taking a long time to get “up to speed,” etc.
4. What are some of the things you saw on my resume that indicated this role might be a good fit?
This is one of the more unique questions to ask the interviewer, and it will reveal what pieces of your background caught their attention. (Then, you can make sure to discuss those pieces when answering questions in the interview).
5. What are the most important things you’re prioritizing or looking for in the candidate you hire?
This is another excellent, unique question to ask the interviewer, and most employers don’t hear this often… if at all.
This question focuses on their interview process and what they’re thinking behind the scenes. It’s a thoughtful, interesting question, and it’s bold, too! It takes guts to ask this, so it’ll grab the hiring manager’s attention AND make them think a bit to give you a thoughtful response.
Any time you can ask a question that makes the employer stop and think before they answer, it’s a good thing!
6. What would success look like in the first 90 days?
This follows the pattern of a couple of the questions above – it shows them that you’re focused on success in the role and already thinking ahead about how to be a big success for them!
That’s going to get them excited about you as a candidate because it shows them that you care about helping their company, not just getting paid.
7. Where do you stand right now in terms of the hiring process and interviewing candidates? And how long has the job been open?
This is one of my favorite questions for an interviewer because it will provide you with valuable information about the hiring process and situation “behind the scenes.”
This can help you know what to expect as the process continues, and it’s also an original question that most candidates aren’t asking, so you’ll stand out in the interview.
8. What are some things that would make someone not a good fit for this role?
Most hiring managers don’t get asked this (which is a good thing – for you!)
Ask this question to show them that you’re careful and thoughtful in your job hunt (which is the opposite of desperate) – and that you’re looking for the right fit, not the first job offered to you.
This is how to position yourself as a top-tier, A+ job candidate.
9. Why did you say “yes” when the position you hold now was offered to you by this organization?
It’s nice to ask at least one question to learn about the interviewer and their personal experience at the company.
Everyone likes to talk about themselves, so most interviewers will be happy to share their experiences here.
Also, since this is an opinion-based question, you can ask it to multiple people. If you meet with three people, you can ask all three about this topic, so you’ll never run out of questions!
You should go into each interview with at least one opinion-based question like this, so you know you won’t run out of things to ask (if you meet more people than expected, etc.)
10. What’s the most challenging aspect of the role?
This question shows employers that you’re realistic and ready for a challenge and that you realize it’s not going to be comfortable at the beginning.
It’s also a relatively uncommon question that most job seekers don’t ask the interviewer, so you’ll get bonus points for being different.
You could follow-up to this question by asking how they recommend overcoming the challenge, too. That will impress them even more.
11. What is your leadership style? (Ask this to your potential future boss)
Ask this question to your potential next boss (not HR or a recruiter) to find out whether you’ll enjoy working under this type of work environment and leadership style.
It’s a thoughtful question that they probably don’t hear often, and it’ll make them think before answering. That’s always a good thing, especially since hiring managers are typically asked the same generic questions in the interview and don’t have to think much about answering.
12. What are your biggest concerns about the department/team right now?
This is another question to ask the hiring manager in a job interview (not HR). It’ll force them to think and be honest about the downsides of the job, or the struggles of the group.
You don’t want to accept a job without knowing what you’re getting into, right?
13. What information will I have access to as an employee, in terms of what’s happening overall in the company
The best companies I’ve worked for have been transparent and open about big decisions, goals, and strategic direction. The worst employers were guarded and secretive. So this question will help you know how this employer treats information, and how they treat their employees (with trust, or distrust).
14. How often do you promote employees internally?
The first recruiting agency I joined ONLY promoted from within the company. That meant that if you wanted to be a Manager, you HAD to start as an entry-level Recruiter. Everyone began this way.
So this is something I like to see in an organization and something you should ask questions to find out about.
Most companies won’t only promote from within (it’s only really possible in a tiny start-up, which we were). But you’ll still learn a lot about asking the employer about this in your job interview.
15. How will my performance reviews be handled?
Don’t take a job without knowing what your performance reviews will handled and how the process will look.
This is one of the most important questions to ask before accepting a job.
16. What have people gone on to do in the company after taking this position?
This is important to know for your future career growth, and asking this also shows the interviewer that you’re goal-oriented and motivated. That will help you get more job offers. Every company likes to see this in their candidates.
17. What has been your best experience working here?
This is another personality-based question, which means you can ask multiple people in your job interview. It’s also unique and engaging and could spark a great conversation. Then, you can build more rapport and get to know the interviewer (always a good thing!)
18. What’s the first problem or challenge the person you hire will need to tackle?
This question shows that you’re coming in focused and ready to contribute from day 1. It also shows that you’re making sure to look for a position that you’re well-equipped to handle.
So you’ll build trust with the company, and show them that you’re a motivated candidate. That’s a win-win.
19. What is your company’s most significant competitive advantage?
Asking this in your job interview will show that you’re a big-picture thinker, and are naturally curious and interested in their business overall.
While most candidates are just asking about the role and day-to-day work (which you should, too, by the way), you’re ALSO asking about something bigger/broader, to show that you’re able to see the bigger picture and think at a higher level.
20. Have other people failed in this position? If so, why?
This will provide you with valuable info, and it’s also something most job seekers aren’t asking, so you’ll set yourself apart and make yourself more memorable in the job interview.
21. How fast is the company growing?
This is another question that shows you’re a big-picture thinker, and that you like to be aware of what’s going on outside of your specific role, too.
This signals that you’ll be strategic, smart, and potentially a great management candidate after they hire you!
22. Who are your top competitors, and what do you think makes people come to work for your organization over the others?
This is very similar to the question above – it shows a general interest in their company, industry, and how they fit with their competitors.
One note: You should have more questions about the actual job… what you’ll be working on, the challenges of the position itself, etc. Don’t only prepare questions about the company overall. This could be a potential red flag – and make them worry that you like their company but aren’t passionate about working in this individual role.
23. After I master the basics of the role, what opportunities are provided for continued learning and career growth?
This is yet another way to show that you’re goal-oriented while finding out valuable info to help you decide whether to accept or decline the job offer if it gets to that point!
This also shows a lot of confidence in the interview, which is always good.
24. Which other teams will I interact with?
This is one more way to show that you’re a big-picture thinker. Asking this in your interview will help you understand how your role fits in with the other parts of the company.
25. How would you describe the company culture here?
This is important to know – a job could look great on paper, but the company culture could be a disaster. So ask this and make sure you’ll feel comfortable in their work environment.
Note that employers may ask interview questions to discover if the culture will fit, too. Two examples:
26. Do your team members/employees ever get together outside of work hours?
This is an interesting question that will help you know how close the team is and whether they get together after work. If this type of thing doesn’t matter to you, then you don’t need to ask it. But I like work environments like this, so I’d want to find out about this.
Conclusion: What to Do Next
I’d recommend picking just a couple off the above questions, getting familiar with them, and using them in every job interview.
That way, you don’t have to think too much each time, and you can also compare the answers that different interviewers give you (to decide which job sounds best).
If you use these questions, you’re going to make a better impression, differentiate yourself from the competition, and land a better job!
This post was originally published on Career Sidekick