This is the only question you need to ace that interview (and here’s why)

Going through the job interview process can, admittedly, be painful. Even when you have thousands of incredible jobs from top-ranking businesses at your fingertips with our search engine and expert advice, there are still things about the process that can just get your adrenaline revving. Luckily for you, we have been around the block a few times — both as interviewees and interviewers — and we have a bevy of great tips to better handle any given interview situation.

Today, we bring you one of the most important counter-question you could ever ask a hiring manager, supervisor, or upper-level executive when vying for that job change or promotion and the important reasons to keep it in your back pocket for that next big opening.

What does success look like in this position, and what measurable would you be expecting?

It demonstrates your desire to meet the business’ needs

Whether you’re interviewing for a new position within the company, filling a previous slot, or otherwise helping them pivot their brand and its goals, there is a certain level of comfort in knowing that a job applicant is aware of their responsibilities very quickly. Even more so when they’re looking to meet or exceed expectations even before they walk in for their first day of training.

This particular question indicates that you recognize success is assessed by measurables, not just a charming personality at an interview and a pristine pedigree. By asking someone this question, you are acknowledging that there are things about this particular job you may not know – even if you’ve been on this career path for years elsewhere – and that you have an open mind to other forms of operation and growth. To feel better prepared for the interview, make sure you’ve got a few of these key skills up your sleeve.

It indicates specificity and attention to detail

You’re getting into the nitty-gritty with this question. Whether you choose to ask it with the first round interview, or while you’re discussing 401k packages and information in your third round informational, this question packs multiple punches. Two questions in one, besides “What does success look like in this position?” and “What measurable would you be expecting?” you’re also asking questions like:

  • What measurables are valuable to the company?
  • How do you mark growth in an employee in this position?
  • How do you, personally, determine success?
  • How does the company determine success?
  • What expectations does the company have that I might be able to exceed quickly?
  • What is my direct impact on the growth of the company?

It familiarizes the interviewee with the interviewer

As with all follow-up questions in interviews, this is your opportunity to get some face time with a member of the team you might be on or someone representing a company you really admire. Be sure to embrace each question you might have as an opportunity to not only learn about the rhythms of the office space and the way your team works together but also about this person as a colleague. If nothing else, it might give you a fun anecdote to mention in your thank you note. (Here are some remote interview-specific tips.)

It helps you determine the company’s level of empathy

The way the interviewer approaches the answer to this question could help indicate how much wiggle room they allow for mistakes during onboarding, what their expectations look like in the long run, and how strict their measurables are. Many hiring managers have had to go into greater detail in their responses to these questions as of late because of the COVID-19 pandemic and how deliverables are transferred, etc. Their response could spur on additional, more deep-dive questions that will help you determine if the company or your superiors have a sense of empathy and if they can provide the right work environment for you.

It applies to most industries and career paths

As specific as the question is to each unique position, it actually casts a wide net for industries and jobs it could be referring to. Even if you had no previous knowledge of the position, company, or top-level executive who is taking your call before the interview – which should never, ever be the case – this question will perk their ears up and ensure them that you are invested in not only your success but the success of the company as a whole.

Try this question on for size during your next interview with one of our highest paying companies.