7 Questions To Ask In a Job Interview That Will Make You Stand Out
May 31, 2021 8:00 AM EST | 5 min read
Want to stand out in your next job interview?
If so, below you’ll find some smart questions to ask in a job interview that will help demonstrate your suitability.
Employers hold interviews to assess a candidate’s ability to perform job functions as well as their fit within the group, department or organization.
The interviewer is not only interested in skill level and experience successfully performing similar duties; they are just as much interested in the personality of the candidate to determine how they will complement or work with others to meet objectives and deadlines which are required to support the mission of the organization.
So, each candidate enters into the interview session intent on impressing the interviewers so that they are selected for the position.
Along with presenting a professional appearance, a resume packed with accomplishments, and articulating their training, skills, interests, and achievements, each candidate has the opportunity to learn more about the company and the open position.
Similar to the employer, the candidate too, can determine if that particular role will allow them to use and grow their skills as well as whether the organization and its culture meet the criteria they are seeking.
Entering an interview with a prepared list of questions, the candidate can, in someway take charge of the interview and, more importantly, stand out by driving the conversation to display more of their qualifications.
While there are a lot of questions to ask in a job interview, let’s focus on seven (7) listed below that are essential and do have great potential to help you stand out.
Also read: How to Use Informational Interviews to Explore Careers
Smart Questions to Ask in a Job Interview
1.) What are the top 3 challenges facing the company and department in the next 12 months?
2.) Why did you decide to work here, and what has kept you at this organization?
3.) How do the responsibilities of this position impact the overall company mission?
Ask these questions to demonstrate that you are not merely looking for a new job; but that you are interested in the organization.
These questions will serve to paint a realistic picture of the organization, including its major operating concerns, culture, and support needs.
The intent is to force the interviewer to present some realities of the road ahead as well as reveal their passion and interest in the company to aid the candidate in deciding if there is a good fit.
4.) What are the criteria used to measure success in this position?
5.) What are the critical success factors for this position within the first 90 days?
These questions show that you want to get involved quickly and work to make an impact.
Asking the interviewer to quantify and qualify the expected performance level, shows them that you are not afraid of being held to standards and benchmarks.
Additionally, requesting detailed information lets the interviewer know that for you, on-boarding is not merely about paperwork and human resources, but about actually getting involved so you can get up to speed quickly and begin contributing to the mission.
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6.) Do you have any concerns about my background or qualifications?
7.) What traits or qualities are demonstrated by team members who are less successful in similar roles?
Often interviewers are hesitant to address or dissect some items on a resume directly (e.g., employment gaps or length) because they don’t want to seem as though they are nit-picking.
However, by asking questions such as these, the candidate helps the interviewer to feel comfortable in delving into areas of the candidate’s background that they may be unsure of but was hesitant about addressing.
These questions also force the interviewer to give the candidate insight into the functions, team, and environment to aid in assessing an exact job fit.
Questions Help Demonstrate Your Suitability
Hiring managers and recruiters like it when job applicants ask questions because they realize that the interview process is not one-sided.
As much as the interviewer is sizing up the candidate, the candidate is doing the same.
Both sides have a decision to make as to whether the position, team, and organization will be a good fit for and benefit from having the candidate in that role.
Just as the interviewer prepares a set of questions based on the position and the application information, the candidate must also prepare questions to ask in a job interview to glean information that they can use to respond if they receive a job offer.
So, I encourage all applicants or candidates to do their homework and use this as a guide to prepare their list of questions to ask in a job interview.
Also, once the interview winds down, if the interviewer does not address it, candidates should never forget to pose question eight (8): What are the next steps in the hiring process for this position?