Want to Stand Out in Your Interview? Ask Great Questions.
Asking great questions during an interview shows the company more than you realize.
Solid Foundation = Success
So, you have an interview with a potential company you want to work for? That is great! Let’s get you prepared for everything you might face during the interview. I have written three previous articles breaking down the most important things you need to have set up. Check them out here before continuing on to this one:
You Can Always Make Your Resume Better: https://inbetweennewsletter.substack.com/p/you-can-always-make-your-resume-better
Cover Letters are the Secret Weapon You Need to Master: https://inbetweennewsletter.substack.com/p/cover-letters-are-the-secret-weapon
Everything You Need to Know to Crush Your Next Interview: https://inbetweennewsletter.substack.com/p/everything-you-need-to-know-to-crush
Your resume is all lined up, your cover letter tells a great story, and you have successfully gotten through your whole interview feeling confident! You might think that is it. For most, that is the end, but for the select few that use the last part of an interview correctly, there is much more ahead.
You just spent the last hour or so answering their plethora of questions, now it is your turn to ask them questions. Trust me when I tell you, this is crucial to your success.
Asking great questions will open the recruiter’s eyes to how you are understanding the company and the role on a deeper level. It will also show them you have been paying attention to everything they are saying, not just focusing on how itchy your professional business clothes are…even though you have.
“But Griffin, how do I know what the right questions to ask are?” Lucky for you, I have created a list of my top 10 favorite questions to ask at the end of the interview. All you have to do is keep reading and actually utilize them.
What are the Best Questions?
1. How can I be the most successful in this position and how is that success measured?
This is a great first question to ask at the end of an interview. Why? You are immediately processing what the interviewer has told you about the role and you are looking to see how you can be the best at it. Nothing catches an interviewer’s eyes and ears like the word success. It is their job to find the best people for the job and if the person they are interviewing is not just talking about their previous work experience but also about what they can do to be successful at their company, then you are off to a great start.
This will also give you a clear picture of what is expected of you and how your success will be measured. Compare this to a teacher giving you the rubric they will use to grade your paper ahead of time. How much easier does that paper become when you now know exactly what you will be graded on? Much easier is the answer. This will lead to many follow up questions on your end to get the best picture on how the job will work.
2. What are the biggest challenges people face in this role?
Companies want people that can solve problems and complete tasks. Sometimes the task is solving problems. So, it is best you know what those problems are so you can come into the role as ready as can be.
This will also get a great reaction from the interviewer as they are looking for people that have a baseline understanding of what they will be presented with on their first day. As the interviewer is answering that initial question, you can then engage in a nice dialogue about your thoughts on what you bring to the table and how you would fix any problems facing the role. Imagine fixing an issue for a company during the interview. Let’s just say, you would get the job on the spot!
3. What gets you out of bed in the morning to come to work?
When you get to ask questions, take advantage of it and ask the interviewer the tough questions. The answers might surprise you when you ask this question.
You can get a really good read on a company’s culture. If they give you a generic response with big keywords about WHAT they do, maybe you can take that and re-evaluate this company. But if they respond with an in-depth answer on WHY they do what they do, you will fall more in love with the company and see the human side of the day-to-day at work.
You want to work at a company that has passionate people, so this question gives you that opportunity to really see how the people working there feel about it. You do not just want a job; you want your career!
4. How does this company on-board/train the new hires for this role?
I love this question for a lot of reasons.
First, it is great to know what the company will do to set you up to succeed. We have all had jobs where you were just tossed into the mix and had to sink or swim. For some, that is what they want. I would argue that for most, I imagine you saying to yourself, “I would love to be trained and guided at the beginning.” Call me crazy, but I think decent training on how to succeed in a role is crucial for your and the company’s success.
This is a great question for another reason; it shows the interviewer that you are already thinking about what is to come. This is the excitement interviewers want to see. Companies love people that are already thinking about making an impact.
This question always leads to a dialogue about the training structure, and you will definitely have follow-up questions as well. So, really, this question is more than a question, it is a conversation starter.
5. How is this company aligned compared to its competitors?
When you ask this question, you will want to follow it up with a couple of sub questions:
- How is our product/service better?
- What does this company do to position itself better in the market?
- Why it is better to work for this company than a competitor?
With this you will probably talk about each point here. This gives you an understanding of how this company operates, which you can take on your own to digest and come back with more questions later. I love using this question when you are not on the final round but instead just starting interviewing because you can come back with follow up questions or ideas in future interviews. This will really impress the interviewers to show that you were retaining the conversation and have continued to put thought into it on your own time.
6. What is the career path people take in a role like this?
Companies want to hire someone for the long haul. They want people that are focused on the now but are also interested in the growth of the future. This question shows that mindset.
This is a sticky question, though, as you don’t want to give the impression that you are already looking too far ahead into the future and losing sight of the job you are actually interviewing for. Just asking this question and understanding the career path should be your only goal.
7. What are the expectations of this role for the first 90 days?
Questions that are good for both the interviewer and interviewee are the best. This is one of those questions. When asking this question, it will show that you are interested in how you can succeed and land in the right position after 90 days of work with the company.
This is also good for the interviewer because they can then fully lay out what is expected and how someone like yourself can achieve that. This provides clarity on the role for both parties.
This question is especially good if you are interviewing for a role that is going to have a few new hires for the same position at once. The interviewer will really appreciate that you are already looking at how you can stand out and be the most successful out of the bunch!
8. What is one thing you would change about the company today?
Nothing is perfect and no company is perfect. That is why this question is such a good one. The many times I have asked this question during an interview, I have always gotten a positive response. Interviewers want you to be bold and confident, which are two words I would most definitely use to describe this question.
Another thing I love about this question is it will help you get a clear understanding of what you are getting into. You will spend more time at work than you will at home (yeah, I know, scary thought), so it is only fair to yourself to know how the company is continuing to improve. Accepting a job is like a blind date, because sometimes when you start working for a company you learn things you were not expecting - yikes.
Another benefit to asking this question is it will give you insight as to what you can bring to the table in the first few days with the company!
9. What are the company’s values, and how do they show that to their employees and customers?
A company’s values are one of the most important things you need to know before accepting a job there. All companies have them, but they are not always a part of the interview conversation. Don’t you want to know what values you are working for? So, ask this question!
Like I said above, jobs fill your day and are a part of your livelihood, so it is important for you to know how you will be supported. This type of question will lead into other questions about benefits, culture, company growth, etc. Learning a company’s WHY is one of the most important things you can do, and this question will do that.
10. What are the next steps in the interview process?
You might be thinking, duh! Asking this question is great because it will start the next conversation (hopefully). As the interviewee, it can kind of act as leverage to set up another interview, which would of course be best case scenario. Wouldn’t you rather have another interview instead of the interviewer saying the dreaded, “we will be in touch.” That is just a death sentence.
Well, that is the list! I hope you can take some of these question ideas and workshop them to fit into whatever your interviewing process looks like. Leave a comment below if you have a great interviewee question I didn’t mention! I am sure there are more great ones out there. Now, everyone go chase those jobs you want!
This week we have another great collaboration with a great newsletter! Check it out below and definitely subscribe!
Subscribe to EarBuds Podcast Collective to receive a weekly podcast recommendation newsletter. We send you a theme and 5 podcast episodes on that theme, and each week is curated by a different person
You Should Definitely Share: The In-Between Newsletter
This newsletter has been growing so much since I started it in August! We are already up to 135 subscribers. Let’s keep the momentum going!
I want this newsletter to be for anyone, all ages, and all backgrounds!
Like I said above I feel like the school system does not always teach us some of the most important things we need to be ready for the world. That is why I have made this newsletter.
I write about topics ranging from: career, finances, personal development, and everything else in between that I think everyone should learn about.
So, if you know anyone that would benefit from a weekly newsletter from a great/humorous writer, then share the link and just put in an email!
Thank you for everyone’s support!