Thinking of killer interview questions to ask the employer isn’t easy. Therefore many professionals overlook this aspect of their interview preparation, not realising that asking questions at the end of the interview can have an immense impact in their interview. As specialists in interview coaching we know how important this is. If it’s a close interview between you and another candidate, it’s these questions that you ask that can tip the result of the interview in your favour. However many people struggle in developing unique interview questions to ask employers. Therefore, like developing and practising answers to the interviewers questions, a portion of your time should be dedicated to this aspect of how to prepare for an interview.
In light of this struggle for many professionals I’ve put together 15 unique and killer interview questions to ask employers. This includes both the interview questions and answers.
Unique Interview Questions To Ask Employers
1) I can see that there is really a positive culture and camaraderie between everyone, I would like to know from you all, what is the best thing about working here?
This is a great question to ask at an interview at any level when you’re at a graduate interview or an executive interview. This achieves two major objectives, the first being that you are talking about the organisation and the interview panel in a positive way. You as an interviewee, are validating them as people and that they’re part of a great organisation. In addition by enticing them to talk positively about themselves and each other subconsciously associate feeling good with you.
2) Having read your CSR report I’m really impressed by your commitment to a zero carbon economy, what are you currently doing to achieve this objective?
This is another killer interview questions to ask employers, being able to show off that you’ve done your research is a really important part of the interview process and asking questions at the end presents the ideal opportunity where you can showcase your research. One of the ways you can do this is by referencing the corporate social responsibility report that most large corporations publish. In there you’ll find lots of insightful, factual and fascinating pieces of information. By referencing those pieces of information, particularly things around climate change and a net zero-carbon economy you will be highlighting a very current issue that companies are facing and no doubt it will make for a great discussion in the interview.
3) Are there any extracurricular activities that take place within the organisation?
Remember when you’re starting a new role you’re not only joining because you have a particular job to do, you also have to establish relationships with your work colleagues from managers to junior staff members. In most companies you will find that staff members socialise together, usually in some kind of outside work activity such as cycling, playing football, going for a coffee or a meal after work. By touching upon this you’ll be able to find out more about the interview panel and organisation regarding the types of recreational activities they enjoy. From there you can align what you enjoy doing in your free time with theirs. Thus, demonstrating that will make an amiable and likeable work colleague.
4) What was the one thing that surprised you when you joined [insert company name] that you didn’t expect?
For an interviewer the interview process itself can be long and arduous having to assess five or six people, sometimes in a single day. Therefore by making them feel good and creating a jovial atmosphere in your interview, will associate those positive vibes with you. Also, it’s very likely that each one of the interview panel will have a unique response, which will illicit a good laugh or make for interesting conversation.
5) I read the CEO’s annual report. It highlighted [reference research] As being the big challenge over the next 3 years what is currently being done within the organisation to overcome this challenge?
Referencing this report again you are demonstrating that you’ve done your research, and that you are assiduous and meticulous. These are important qualities for a leader and something we focus on in our executive interview coaching. This will naturally illustrate that you are a competent person and hold you in a higher esteem. Also by discussing a key challenge that the organisation is facing will open up the conversation to how your experiences can help in overcoming those challenges.
6) Having read the organisation values of [list here i.e. Respect, Trust, Innovation and Diversity] My favourite value for the organisation is Trust because of [list reason] what is your favourite value, and why?
Now you might take the interviewers by surprise by asking this question since not everyone on the panel knows what their organisation’s values are. I mean do you know what your current company values actually are? At most possibly one or two, unless of course you’re working in HR. Therefore by mentioning the values up front you’re reminding the interviewers of what their values are so that they don’t face any embarrassment, which is the last thing you want. You definitely don’t want to be coming across as a bit of a smart-arse and an interviewee that made them look foolish. The second benefit is that it shows that you know what all the values are and you’ve shown a richer insight by Zooming in to this one in particular. So, if you haven’t had a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the company values in the most common interview questions, this question at the end is a great opportunity to do so.
7) As a new person potentially coming in to join the organisation, from your experience can you tell me one or two things that I should be doing to prepare myself for the role?
This is a fantastic question to ask because it showcases many competencies: the fact that you are proactive, that you’re willing to learn and that you’re motivated to succeed in the role. You can ask this question in either a face to face or video interview.
8) Referencing something that they’ve mentioned in the interview!
This is one of a number of unique interview questions to ask employers. Most interviews you’ll be attending you will find the interview panel will introduce themselves but also mention various aspects of the organisation in terms of what they are currently doing, what the company’s mission is and about the company culture.
This gives a fantastic insight into some specific aspects of the organisation. Therefore by basing your question off of what the interviewer has said will show that you have been listening diligently to what they’ve said and that you have the curiosity and inquisitiveness to learn more.
9) Do you have a coffee machine?
When asking a question at the end of the interview it’s also an opportunity to showcase your personality and your sense of humour. A question such as this is an exquisite way to generate laugher but also allows the interviewer to break character and have a more human interaction with you.
10) What’s the current biggest challenge facing the department?
This is another killer interview question to ask employers. The main reason for this is that because you will be working in this team, you’re showcasing that you have genuine interest in the precise challenges the department is facing. This will definitely show you in a positive light. Secondly, it’s an opportunity for you to understand what their specific challenges are and be able to delve deeper. Turning the question into a discussion. I always say having a discussion within the interview and breaking the arduousness always results in a more favourable outcome.
11) I recently read [a news story/article linked to the company some of the key challenges are [highlight the challenges] one of the ways I believe we can change is [provide a solution]…what are your thoughts on this?
There are many interview questions and answers that we’ve covered so far, however this particular way of asking the questions is probably the most distinctive. The reason being that you can tailor the question specifically to any organisation whether it be the civil service, the NHS, Google or even Amazon. Now there is a possibility that the news story or article you’ve referenced may not be something that the interviewer is aware of. So there’s a risk that by you asking, could put them on the spot, and no interviewer wants that to happen to them. Therefore by providing the solutions as well as the challenges will result in you giving them a foot up in being able to respond to the question. This will demonstrate that you are someone who is well read, and this approach has the potential to evolve into a deeper and more fascinating conversation between you and the interviewer.
12) How do you expect this particular job role to evolve?
Another one of my tips interview questions answers is to remember an interview is a two-way process so asking questions at the end of the interview is a really important opportunity for you to gain a better understanding of how this role will actually help you to further your career, therefore this is a critical question because you will be able to see what type of growth is possible within the role.
13) When you joined the company what was the biggest challenge for you?
People love to talk about themselves, so by shining a light on the interviewer and trying to essentially learn from them, will help build a positive emotional connection which will increase your chances of landing the job.
14) What is your proudest moment working for this company?
Getting the interview to talk about their personal achievements again feeds into this idea of self-gratification by encouraging them to talk about themselves in a positive way. This will definitely indulge the interviewer and make them feel proud of their achievements. Also the fact that you’re taking a genuine interest in their accomplishments will generate a positive perception of you.
15) If you could share one piece of advice for a new starter here, what would it be?
This question achieves two important objectives, firstly it gives you an insight in to the most effective way to settle into the new company since every company is unique and has its own individuality and culture. Remember getting off to a good start is always important! Secondly it puts the interviewer in a positive frame where you are demonstrating that you are open to wanting to learn from them.
How To Prepare for an Interview?
We use the IPReP method to prepare for an interviews, which include the following steps:
- That you’re accurately able to identify potential interview questions.
- That you spend time to prepare high quality answers.
- Integrate your research into your answers.
- Finally you practice whether it’s in the mirror or with a friend.