7 Unique Interview Questions to Ask an Employer

Asking if the candidate has any questions has become a pretty standard part to all interviews. It’s also a great opportunity to further show your interest in the role and company - asking the interviewer detailed, thoughtful questions about the position or company is a golden opportunity to show that you're a serious candidate.  Conversely, not having any questions can be interpreted as a sign that you're not well-prepared or aren’t interested. Perhaps more importantly, asking questions is a chance for you to learn crucial information about what it's like to work at this company. At Career Group Companies, we emphasize that interviews are a two-way street. It's important to know yourself, reflect on what you really want from your potential employer, and let that be your guide in every step of the interview process.

Make Your Questions Count

You won't make the right impression by asking something that was already explained in detail, or something you should know from your research. One rule of thumb is to prepare four or five well-crafted questions beforehand so that you have a few to choose from, based on how the interview went.  Your goal is to ask a question that's unique and interesting, while also gaining valuable information about your prospective employer.

1. What does being successful in this position look like and how is success evaluated?

This is a substantive question that lets you go well beyond the job description and can give you a sense of whether this is the right job for you. The answer will reveal important elements about your day-to-day experience, who you will be working closely with, and what your biggest priorities will be.  Knowing how your performance will be evaluated can provide broad insights about both the role and the company, as well as determine if you can be successful.

2. What have this role’s previously successful individuals gone on to do?

Asking about the position's potential for career advancement is a great way to show the interviewer that you're driven and eager to grow. It's also a crucial question to help you assess if this job is the right stepping stone for your career goals. The answer will tell you whether the company has a habit of promoting from within, especially if there is more than one employee who remains in the organization and is thriving. You might also learn about any opportunities for professional development that are available for that position.

3. How does the company support its employees’ work-life balance?

Learning more about the company and its culture is just as important as understanding the ins-and-outs of the specific role you're applying for. The answer to this question will give you a sense of how your potential employer creates and encourages a healthy working environment, which can include anything from allowing parents to have flexible schedules to subsidizing employee gym memberships. It's important to get a sense of the company's values and priorities because this will have a huge influence on your working experience.

4. Can you tell me about your time working for the company?

Whether you're being interviewed by an HR representative or your prospective supervisor, ask them to share about their own background with the firm. Asking your interviewer about their experiences at the company is a great way to build rapport, and is also an effective way to gain a broader context about what it may be like to work there. Taking this personal approach can lead to a very insightful conversation, especially if that person has been at the company for a long time. They can give you a more concrete picture of the company's culture and values just by sharing some highlights of their own career path.

5. How do you deal with conflict within your organization?

Dealing with conflict is one of the essential skills of any leader, as well as an integral element of any workplace. Asking this question can help you learn what it will be like to work with your potential team, while also giving insight into the personality and leadership style of your potential supervisor. A thorough answer might even include a concrete example, complete with an explanation of how he or she was able to build consensus. This question also shows the interviewer that you're a very engaged and thoughtful candidate that cares about positive collaboration between team members.

6. What does the company consider to be its biggest challenges over the next year?

You should already know a lot about this company because of your research to prepare for the interview, but this question has the potential to give much more than publicly available information. It's a different angle at which to learn relevant company priorities, , including how it understands important trends and problems in the industry.  You're also showing yourself to be a "big picture" thinker with an interest in the overall success of the company you join.

7. Is there anything you would like me to clarify or tell you more about?

Since asking questions will usually be the last portion of the interview, this is your last chance to make a lasting, positive impression. This question might lead your interviewer to give a second look at your resume and engage with you further on some of your relevant work experience. It's also a way to show how interested you are in the position and how you feel your experience fits with the requirements. The best approach to asking questions during the interview will be to ask about things that most resonate with you. Working with a knowledgeable recruiter at Career Group Companies can provide you with crucial support during the interview process, including helping you to craft thoughtful questions that will help you shine. Preparing a set of strong questions is one of the best ways to leave a great impression, and get useful information about your potential employer. Begin the process of finding a positive work experience by searching for Open Roles today.

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Founded in 1981 by Susan Levine, Career Group Companies was created to set a higher standard for recruiting. For over four decades, we’ve partnered with our valued candidates and clients to cultivate perfect career matches for administrative, creative, fashion, events, and executive professionals at top companies nationwide.

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