What’s the one thing you can do to turn the tables and guarantee you make a positive impression during a job interview?
You guessed it, questions! It’s crazy to think so many go into interviews having prepared answers to every tiny detail on their CV but have no quality questions to ask. And yet it’s standard procedure for 99% of hiring managers (HM) to turn around right before the end and say, “have you got any questions?”
When you ask a hiring manager insightful questions during a job interview, it demonstrates your professionalism, thoughtfulness, and commitment, i.e. skills they want to hire! Now, some of the best questions can arrive naturally from the conversation, so make sure to have a notepad with you to jot down any points you might want to clarify or query.
That said, there are a few select questions that work universally. When you use these in a specific order, you can maximise your chance of impressing the HM. They come in the format of the four C’s:
1. Connect: Ask rapport-building questions.
2. Culture: Understand the company and the relationship that will unfold.
3. Challenges: Learn their pain points & how you’ll impact the company.
4. Close: Leave the conversation knowing the next steps.
Now you know the four stages, you’re ready to run through the ten best interview questions that will blow away any hiring manager!
This kind of insight as a prospective candidate is valuable as the answer will tell you whether it’s a newly created position or vacated. If it’s a newly created position, it means the business is growing; a new project is coming out, sales are up, etc. If it’s an existing position, did the predecessor get promoted into a new role and a direct example of the company growing its team from within? Or, did the person who held the position before leave because of challenges with management, role scope, or simply that it’s a high turnover role?
We love talking about ourselves, and a question like this makes it easy to do so. It’s broad enough to both ask both:
– What was your reason for joining?
– Where did you come from before?
Understanding the interviewer’s background will help you find similarities and build a connection.
By asking this, you set a positive tone. It makes the conversation enjoyable for the HM and gives you insight into why it’s a great place to work. It’s also a smooth way to transition into questions regarding the company culture.
Here you can find what the companies values and if it matches up with your expectations. For example, if they describe someone who works ridiculous hours and you want a good work-life balance, it’s probably not the right place for you.
Similar to the previous question, this can help you clarify how well you’ll perform at the company. It’s crucial to listen carefully here because if they start describing someone like you, you know it’s a risky move to join.
The stance companies hold on this topic is a metric for how forward-thinking they are and how much they care about their employees. You deserve better, so if a company doesn’t sound clear on this, then it might not be suitable for you.
Learning a company’s pain points is a great way to understand better how to sell your services. What’s more, if you ask this in the first interview and you know there’s another one or two before you reach an offer, highlight how you can solve this in the next stage.
By asking this question, you make it clear that you’re a self-starter. You want to know how you can measure your performance so no one else has to; what better way to subtly communicate a willingness to take responsibility for your actions and ownership of the role.
Using this question is a polite way to ask the interviewer what concerns they have. It may seem crazy but remember how frustrating it was when you were applying and not getting any feedback? How are you supposed to improve? Asking this demonstrates a growth mindset, and if they do say something, you have the opportunity to counter it.
Finally, to give you some peace of mind and stop any uncertainty about whether you should chase the company, ask this question. It’s an ideal way to learn if there are any more interviews, how long until the next and the general structure of their hiring process.
Want to catch the HM off guard? Being an abstract question, it’s unlikely they will have heard this, which means it’s worth noting how they interpret it. Perhaps they’re a B2C brand and suggest that if it means keeping a customer happy, then do whatever it takes. Otherwise, they might have strict policies that, if broken, will lead to disciplinary action.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your interview!