7 questions that will knock their socks off in an interview

When preparing for an interview, you likely spend lots of time learning about the company and requirements of the role.

You’re probably preparing for specific questions they’ll ask you about your previous experience, and want to have smart answers prepared for the ways you’ve helped transform your team and organization to cast you in the best light.

Something you may not be so focused on, however, is what to ask once the interviewer turns the questioning over to you.

In fact, for many hiring managers, hearing what questions a potential employee has about the role and company speaks volumes about what kind of worker they’ll be.

Asking the right questions can even be a determining factor in who they decide to hire.

So, what questions should you be asking in your next interview? Here are a few standout questions from hiring managers who have recently interviewed new talent – and why they’re effective for landing you the role.

1. In a perfect world, what skills would this hire bring to the business?

“This question let me know that the applicant was trying to ‘see things my way,’ says Ruggero Loda, Founder of Running Shoes Guru.

“They weren’t just thinking about themselves and their paycheck; they wanted to see how/if they could fit into our team. Needless to say, I hired the young woman on the proverbial spot.” 

2. Is this a new role – and if not, what happened to its previous occupant?

“I got this question in 2019 and was absolutely floored,” says Tory Gray, CEO of The Gray Dot Company.

“The applicant wanted to know whether a role was new, meaning they were thinking about how they’d fit it. They were also scoping for why the previous hire may not have worked out for us; smart.” 

3. What will the learning and development opportunities be like?

“70% of all employees are more likely to stay with an employee who invests in their career progress,” says Gray.

“An interviewee who proactively seeks out opportunities like these is more likely to stick with us in the long run. Since I enjoy long-term hires, this is a plus in my book.” 

4. What is your organization’s biggest challenge this year, and how will this position help solve it? 

“The answer gives you insight into some of the things you can do to help alleviate major pain points for the company,” says Reuben Yonatan, founder and CEO of GetVoIP.

“It also sends a message that you recognize your role as a service provider and problem solver.”

5. I’ve been looking at one of your competitors. How are you out-performing them?

“The person who asked this brought data with them,” says Rex Freiberger, CEO of Gadget Review.

“They also asked how they would be expected to contribute to this. A question like that tells me they’ve researched the market and know what they’re talking about. They’ve identified our competitors and want more information about how we’re positioned to do better than them.”

6. I saw that your business had a recent win [with description of the win]. What do you think led to that success?

“This is so effective because managers love talking about their business wins and it shows that the candidate read up about the business and did their research,” says Peter Mann, Founder of SC Vehicle Hire.

“It also gives the interviewee a good idea of what constitutes success in the company. For example, if the manager talks about teamwork instead of the skills of any particular individual, it may show that teamwork is valued in the company.” 

7. Is there anything about my resume or background that makes you question whether I’m the right fit?

“Not only does this question display that you are invested in the role, but it shows that you are committed to understanding your prospects, and clearing any issues the interviewer may have, as best as possible,” says Jase Rodley, founder and CEO of JaseRodley.com.

“Going through areas of concern will also give you the opportunity to clarify items and worries that may have been mis-heard or mis-read. You can leave the interview safe in the knowledge that there shouldn’t be any lingering questions left on the interviewer’s mind.”