10 unique questions to ask an interviewer

Woman sits in a room of empty chairs, checking her watch for the time.
April 21, 2020 | Claire Hegstrom

You’ve made it to the end of a job interview without a single hiccup, and your potential new manager asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” According to a former Global Head of Talent at LinkedIn, this is the worst time to freeze up or draw a blank.

“If people don’t have questions, that’s a concern… Is this emblematic of not being inquisitive or collaborative?,” the former LinkedIn HR exec said.

But don’t sweat it! We’ve curated a list of ten unique questions to ask in an interview. These questions will show that you’re eager and thoughtful, and they'll give you more information about the job.


1.  What are the most important qualities someone should have to excel in this role?

This is an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate that you encompass the characteristics your interviewee is searching for. Make sure to provide an example of a time you really showcased this trait in your previous role.


2. What are some qualities that would not make someone a good fit for this role?

You need to be a good fit for the company, but the company also needs to be a good fit for you. If you’re someone who thrives on daily direction, but your manager has a hands-off leadership style, this could be a difficult transition.


3. How would you rate this company on living up to its core values?

Alert the presses: not every workplace lives up to the hype on their HR page. (Alliant, on the other hand, truly does!) If the company you’re interviewing with is struggling with their employer brand, you might have some stories to share on how you’ve helped transform this area of opportunity in previous roles.


4. Do you have a mentorship system in place for all employees?

No matter where you’re at in your career, growth and learning should be a constant, and you’ll want to be with a company that takes your continued education seriously. Outstanding companies will almost always have some kind of mentorship program in place, whether it’s a “buddy system” or a more formalized practice.


5. How is employee feedback addressed in daily operations?

This one’s easy…does your possible future employer have a growth mindset? How agile is the leadership in changing processes to better serve their people?


6. What’s one aspect missing from your team that you feel would make it complete?

I’ve personally asked this one a few times, and you learn a lot about a potential manager’s feelings towards their team. Whether they’re quick to jump in with an answer, or it’s harder for them to come up with something missing, you’ll get a better understanding of how the manager views the people you’ll be working with.


7. How often does leadership share their vision and direction for the company?

We’ve all had roles where we felt completely in the dark on where the team, and even the company, was headed. The answer to this question reveals the transparency the company is regularly willing to offer its employees.


8. If I’m chosen for this opportunity, what is the first challenge I’ll need to tackle in this role?

Some managers might tell you that you’ll spend your first weeks acclimating or attending new employee orientation, others might need you to jump right in on some major projects. If you’re the kind of worker that needs time to feel settled, the latter might not be ideal.


9. What are your expectations for responding to work email and texts outside of business hours?

Will work be attached at your hip 24/7, or is work-life balance a high priority for your team? Transparency on expectations will be key for both you and your future employer.


10. Is this a new position?

If it is a new position, you may get some insight into how the team is growing and how you’ll work with your team members. If the position is open because of an internal promotion, you may have the opportunity to learn from that person.


When your big day arrives, pick two or three questions that will help you decide if the job is right for you. Best of luck to you on your career journey!

Claire Hegstrom is an advocate of the credit union movement through and through. Passionate about financial education, she approaches money conversations from a candid and inclusive space focused on growth and awareness. As our credit union founding father, Ed Filene, once said, “Progress is the constant replacing of the best there is with something still better.” Claire hopes reading Money Mentor will help transform your life from the best to even better.

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