When you're hyper focused on nailing interview questions, you can easily forget to dig for details that help determine whether the company is right for you. Asking thoughtful questions is the key to standing out from other candidates and spotting incompatibilities that aren't obvious on the surface. Add these interview questions to your arsenal to avoid mismatched opportunities and land job offers that best suit your needs.
1. What attracted you to this company?
Get interviewers to share honest insights about their employer, so you can understand how they interpret company goals. An employee who's organized, confident or engaged shouldn't struggle to articulate what makes their job special, and hesitant behavior may be a sign your future bosses communicate poorly with the team.
Pay close attention to nonverbal cues to get the full story. If interviewers seem bored or tense up when discussing the company, they probably have nothing good to say or want to avoid bringing up the many negative aspects of the job.
2. What company or team achievements are you most proud of?
Ask interview questions that explore the interviewer's personal connection to the company's mission. Great employers know they must trust, challenge and support employees to attract and retain a strong workforce. Learning about recent accomplishments from an employee perspective gives you insight into the cultural dynamics of the company. At the same time, you find out if the company pursues innovative projects that excite employees. A low-energy, reluctant or flimsy response is a red flag that employees are miserable or unmotivated at work.
3. What current challenges are you facing, and how is the company addressing them?
Beware of employers who pretend to have zero issues. Hiring managers don't need you unless they have problems to solve, and confident, transparent leaders are comfortable discussing key areas that need improvement. The benefits of this interview question are twofold. The more you learn about the company's specific problems and priorities, the better you can tailor your answers and demonstrate your experience. The interviewer's response also paints a picture of daily operations, organizational structure and resources available to employees, so you can identify aspects that could be deal breakers.
4. What do you admire about company leaders?
Leadership and team dynamics play a big role in making your job successful and fulfilling. Before you accept a job offer, make sure the company is a positive and uplifting place to work. Hearing an employee's opinion of senior management gives you a sense of the personalities and competences of influential leaders. Company decision-makers also set the tone for other relationships, making it wise to ask how leaders encourage team bonding. Whether the company offers fun, laid-back social events or rigid, mandatory retreats, small details tell what drives good employees to stay with or leave the company.
Candid, open-ended interview questions draw out the most accurate information about potential employers, forcing interviewers to think beyond their prepared discussion points. Just like hiring managers put you on the spot, you should challenge them with smart, probing interview questions that uncover in-depth details they prefer to withhold. Careful vetting can lead you to the right job and steer you away from a soul-sucking environment.
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