13 Interview Questions to Ask An Employer
March 18, 2023
13 Interview Questions to Ask An Employer
From "What does the interview process look like for this role?" to “What makes this place different than your competitors?", here are 13 great interview questions you can ask an employer.
- What Does the Interview Process Look Like for This Role?
- What is the First Problem Or Challenge to Address?
- What Made You Want to Join the Company?
- What Makes Your Company Stand Out and a Fantastic Place to Work?
- How Do You See My Role Developing With the Adoption of AI Within This Sector?
- How Frequently Do You Promote People Internally?
- What is the Most Important Lesson You Have Learned in Your Leadership Role?
- How Does This Position Contribute to the Overall Goals of the Company?
- When the Company Encountered a Significant Problem...
- What Initiatives Have You Taken to Make Your Workplace More Inclusive?
- What Are the Major Industry Challenges?
- How Do You Prioritize and Balance Short-term Goals With Long-term Objectives?
- What Makes This Place Different Than Your Competitors?
What Does the Interview Process Look Like for This Role?
As a candidate, you want to eventually land an interview with the founder or chief executive of a company. A conversation with the person who started or currently runs the company can tell you everything you need to know about the long-term trajectory, why the organization exists and more.
That's why I'd encourage candidates to ask an employer if their founder or chief executive is involved in the interview process. A light way of asking this is, "What does the interview process look like for this role?" If the response doesn't clarify whether a founder is involved in interviews, it's fair to ask a follow-up: "Is [Name of Founder/Executive] involved in interviewing?"
Founders have three jobs: People, Strategy and Capital. If a founder isn't involved in the hiring process, it could be a red flag. If they are involved, it can be a positive sign—especially for a more senior or mid-level role. Either way, you'll have unique insights about the company early in the process.
Brett Farmiloe ‘06 BSBA (Accounting), CEO, Terkel
What is the First Problem Or Challenge to Address?
One of the questions I would ask an employer in an interview is, "What's the first problem or challenge the person you hire for this role will address?" This question shows that you are coming into the interview focused and ready to contribute to the challenges from the start to make a positive impact.
In addition, it shows that you are looking to ensure that you can address these challenges with your skill set. Finally, this question will give you better insight into the company's biggest pain points, which can raise other questions that stem from this.
Elyse Flynn Meyer ‘07 BSBA (Marketing and International Business), owner and founder, Prism Global Marketing Solutions
What Made You Want to Join the Company?
I always like questions that give the interviewer a chance to talk about themselves, to help you learn a little more about them. Learning how someone came to a company can show you what they value. They might be very aligned with the company's mission, or they might have seen this job as a very important leadership opportunity, or they might be in this job to get a certain type of experience.
Evan Reed BSBA Marketing, associate category development manager, The Wonderful Company
What Makes Your Company Stand Out and a Fantastic Place to Work?
In my opinion, this is a great way to learn about the company's distinct value proposition and culture.
You may learn more about the company's strengths and how they set themselves apart from competitors by reading their response. The company's vision and values may be outlined, as well as the importance placed on employee satisfaction and work-life balance. Also, they may highlight the positive effect the business has had on its clientele or local neighborhood.
Pay close attention to their answer, and then ask clarifying questions to learn what sets the organization apart and why its employees love coming to work every day.
Edward Mellett, co-founder, Wikijob
How Do You See My Role Developing With the Adoption of AI Within This Sector?
One really interesting question you can ask that displays your aptitude for broader knowledge around the industry is "How do you see my role developing with the inevitable adoption of AI within this sector?"
Not only does this show that you're looking into the potential future development of your role from the outset, but it also opens up a conversation channel to discuss industry growth and for you to display your industry knowledge as a candidate.
Wendy Makinson, HR manager, Joloda Hydraroll
How Frequently Do You Promote People Internally?
“How often do you internally promote employees?” is a great question you can ask.
The first recruiting firm I worked for exclusively promoted employees. That meant that in order to become a manager, one had to start as a recruiter. That's how it all began. It gave me great opportunities as a new job seeker (and I did eventually get promoted to project manager). So, this is something I like to see in a company, and you should learn more about it by asking questions.
Most businesses don't just promote from within, so you should look for some balance. You can then follow up by asking the interviewer about the company's internal promotion process. How can employees learn about these internal opportunities and what should they do if they want to apply for a better position within the company?
Joe Li, managing director, CheckYa
What is the Most Important Lesson You Have Learned in Your Leadership Role?
I believe this to be an excellent question to ask a potential employer since it gives you a chance to learn about the leader's growth as a person and in their role. Their response will shed light on their leadership style, priorities and the traits they look for in team members.
In this section, the potential employer may talk about a leadership difficulty they overcame, such as dealing with a difficult employee or resolving a crisis. They might tell a tale of a time when they were able to inspire and guide their team to achievement. The employer's leadership ethos and approach to team management can be gleaned by attentively listening to and questioning the candidate's response.
Kyle Basett, COO, Altitude Control
How Does This Position Contribute to the Overall Goals of the Company?
Asking an employer or potential employer "How does this position contribute to the overall goals of the company?" is a fantastic way to understand how you could potentially approach the job you are applying for.
It helps you understand the expectations of management for that position and how you are expected to contribute. This question is also a great way to communicate that you take the job responsibilities seriously, and further, that you are interested in how you can contribute to the greater picture.
I would recommend asking this question to help you get as much information about the position you are interviewing for as you can. It will put you in a better position to make a decision as you continue your job search or begin a new chapter at a new company.
Brian Clark, CEO and marketing director, United Medical Education
When the Company Encountered a Significant Problem...
Question: "Can you explain a period when the company encountered a significant problem and how did the leadership team address and overcome it?"
There are several ways in which this query can be beneficial. It first gives you a better understanding of the leadership and organizational culture. If the company answers with a thorough and considerate response, it demonstrates that they are open about difficulties and take a team-based approach to problem-solving. On the other hand, if the reply is evasive or dismissive, that can be a possible warning sign.
Second, it provides you with a chance to discover the unique difficulties the company has had in the past, which is useful for understanding the market and the potential for growth and innovation in the future.
Overall, by asking this question, you can evaluate the company's leadership and problem-solving abilities while also learning important facts about its past and future prospects.
Dayna Carlin, director of marketing and sales, NovoPath
What Initiatives Have You Taken to Make Your Workplace More Inclusive?
If you ask this, I believe you may get a good sense of how serious the company is about fostering an inclusive environment for all of its employees. The company's attitude toward equality and belonging, as well as its policies and activities around diversity and inclusion, will become clearer after reading the response. The company may talk about its efforts to increase the representation of underrepresented groups in its workforce and its leadership, as well as the resources it makes available to employees who come from such groups. Pay close attention to their response and ask clarifying questions to learn more about the company's beliefs and the steps it is taking to foster a more welcoming environment at work.
Tiff Hafler, marketing manager, FORTIS Medical Billing Professionals
What Are the Major Industry Challenges?
"What are the major industry challenges, and how do you envision your organization adjusting to meet them?"
I believe this to be an excellent way to gauge the company's leadership and future plans as well as the employer's understanding of the sector. You may learn about the company's strategy for being competitive and inventive, as well as how they view themselves in the industry as a whole, from their response. The company may discuss how technological advancements, shifting consumer tastes, or governmental policies have affected the sector as a whole and the company specifically. You should pay close attention to their response and ask clarifying questions to learn about the company's priorities and long-term plans.
Cindi Keller, communications coordinator, Criminal Defense Lawyers
How Do You Prioritize and Balance Short-term Goals With Long-term Objectives?
In my opinion, this is a good way to gauge the prospective employer's capacity for long-term planning and thought. You can learn about the company's goal-setting and priorities from their response. Potential topics of discussion include the company's vision and values and their role in shaping policy at all levels of management. How employees are involved in the planning process, or how the company uses data and feedback to measure progress toward goals, are also topics that an employer might cover. Pay close attention to their response and ask clarifying questions to learn more about the company's decision-making process and methods for conveying the company's vision and priorities to employees.
Tim Allen, director, Oberheiden P.C.
What Makes This Place Different Than Your Competitors?
When you are in the process of an interview, you should always have questions at the ready because this helps to make you seem very interested in the position. It's also important, though, to ensure the questions you ask can create some good conversation. One question you should ask an employer during an interview is, "What makes this place different than your competitors?"
Most businesses like to brag about their company, so any opportunity to talk about the place they work is always welcomed. It also allows you to get a better idea of what you might be receiving from this particular company that differs from similar businesses. You, therefore, can get a better understanding of the types of benefits you might be receiving and also what other opportunities within the company might be available to you.
Allen King, CEO, Fun Join
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