10 Power Questions You Can Ask to Stand Out in Interviews
10 Power Questions
You Can Ask
to Stand Out
Top candidates know that in addition to demonstrating their qualifications during an interview, asking questions is a powerful way to assess THEIR interest in the role and company, demonstrate their interest in the opportunity and uncover any reservations the hiring team has about their ability to do the job.
Prior to each interview, research the company, each interviewer, and the job description and prepare questions in advance that you can choose from tailored to how the interviewer fits into the hiring process.
Our favorite questions for candidates to ask to stand out in interviews include:
1. What attracted you to the company and what’s kept you here? Most interviewers love to talk about themselves and impress people with their experience and knowledge. In responding to this question the interviewer often provide insight they don’t typically volunteer in interviews, which gives you an opportunity to learn more and connect with them in a meaningful way. Ask this question of everyone you meet with.
2. Why is this position available? This question can be very revealing about the company promoting from within, retention, or growth and will give visibility into what you would be walking into if hired for the role. Continue to ask follow-up questions based on their response to understand why someone left, what role the person got promoted into, or what the business justification is for creating a new role.
3. What are key milestones and accomplishments expected from this role at 90 days, 6 months and 1 year? It’s always great to know what’s expected beyond a generic job description before being hired. This also provides insight into priorities of the role and business that you can focus on during the rest of your interview and in your thank you note. If the response if vague, follow up with “How do you measure success in the role?” This also shows the hiring manager that you are confident and comfortable and with metrics-driven environments.
4. Can you tell me about the team this position is a part of? Could I meet some of the people I would be working closely with? Who you work with is shown to have as much of an impact on your longevity with a company and happiness on the job as who you report to, so it’s in your best interest to make sure that you respect and connect with the people you will work with every day. These conversations with potential peers also set the stage for a positive working relationship as they share more about their background and goals.
5. Describe the opportunities for continued learning and growth in this position. Companies want to hire people who are lifelong learners, and this question gives them an opportunity to share more about their culture and practices around career growth. Remember, growth has transformed from hierarchical career ladders to breadth and depth of knowledge being desired and rewarded, so stay curious about ways that you can grow professionally.
6. What are top priorities for the (product/team/company) and how does this role fit in? Executives love candidates that are interested in how their role impacts the business. This is also a great way to learn if the role is strategic and drives high-value activities or is purely execution focused.
7. How do you deliver feedback? Professionals grow exponentially faster when they work in a learning culture that encourages open dialog and allows mistakes. Be prepared to share how you prefer to get feedback.
8. What’s different about working here vs. other companies where you’ve worked? This is a great way to ask more about the culture and specifics of the team and company. Are there unusual perks? Are people ultra-competitive? Do they socialize outside of work? Do they have team events? Do they have lunch together or do their own thing?
9. What’s the timeline for hiring and remaining steps in the interview process? It’s always great to be aware of the full interview process, especially if you are actively interviewing with multiple companies. This also opens dialog to gauge how interested they are in your candidacy as they will often ask to be notified if you receive another offer if they think you are a strong candidate. This also gives you a timeline that you can use to follow-up with them if the process stalls.
10. Are there any skills that I may be lacking that would prevent me from being successful in the role? This is your power question for the hiring manager and any other individual that you are having difficulty getting a read from. This question shows confidence and accomplishes one of two things; either the interviewer tells you the skills they believe you are lacking which gives you an opportunity to reframe your response and influence their opinion, or they give you positive feedback about your candidacy so that you know where you stand before leaving the interview.
One of the best pieces of advice a recruiter gave me years ago when I was a techie interviewing for my dream role was, “Relax and keep it conversational. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Instead of focusing on answering every questions perfectly, just consider this an opportunity to learn about a company, an individual or even a new industry.”
This advice is even more true today, as candidates that have the confidence to ask questions, interact and show their personality really stand out.
Keep breathing and remember that asking questions is the best way for you to transform the interview into a conversation.