In many cases, the part of the job interview when you ask the candidate, “Do you have any questions for me?” often feels like a waste of time. To many job candidates, what they ask — and whether it makes them seem smart — is more important than how you answer.
But then there are the job candidates that do care about how you answer, because they’re also interviewing you. They’re superstars. They’re skilled, accomplished, creative, hardworking… in short, they have options.
Which means your interview prep is just as important as the candidate’s.
What kinds of questions should small business owners (or hiring managers) be prepared to answer? I asked my LinkedIn connections for their favorites.
Here are some of the best:
- “What are the three biggest challenges the person landing this role will face in first 90 days, and what must be achieved in those 90 days?” — Karen Cuneo-McDonald
- “Can you tell me about a person you hired that didn’t work out, and why they didn’t work out?” — Michael Spence
- “What does it mean to be a leader at your company?” — Phani Karne
- “Based on your culture, which of the following is your company’s number one priority: Customers, employees, revenue, or brand integrity? If I ask this same question of other employees here, how likely is it they would give the same answer?” — Kevin McDaniel
- “Can you tell me how your company has maneuvered and positioned itself during COVID-19? How has the organization kept morale and engagement up during this time?” — Anna Morgan
- “Can you tell me some of the rituals, ceremonies, or customs at your company that makes it memorable for employees?” — Eytan Dallal
- “What is the highest technical rank a woman holds in your organization?” — Sara Biyabani (Jeff: If a question like this isn’t cause for self-reflection, nothing is.)
- “It’s time for our 12-month review. I’ve been wildly successful in this role and you’re still excited you hired me. What outcomes have I achieved that contribute to your continued excitement for hiring me?” — KC Coe
- “The last person who held this position: How long did they hold it, and why is it now open?” — Maureen Dalton
- “Describe your onboarding process. What is the timeline for when you expect full productivity?” — Kathryn Read
- “What is something you believed or thought when you first started working here (or when you first started your company) that you now know you were wrong about?” — Jairo McMican
- “If I’m hired and you are my official (onboarding) ‘buddy,’ what would be your top two or three pro tips for navigating the organization during my first few months?” — Sumana Sarkar
- “What is something I don’t want to know about the job?” — Sarah Prat (Jeff: Love this one; no job is perfect.)
- “What structured learning, development and mentorship programs do you have in place?” — Deniz Yorulmazel
- “What is it about my resume or experience caught your eye and convinced you I am a strong candidate for this job?” — Amrutha Ragavan
- “What are the top three competencies needed to be successful in this role, and why? More broadly, what are the top three personality traits you see in the most successful people in your organization?” — Paige Derdevanis
- “What are the biggest problems you need to solve?” — Brian K. Seitz
- “How would you rate the emotional intelligence of your organization? Is there an ongoing focus/training in terms of EI for both leaders and employees?” — Kelly McCarthy
- “What is your leadership style?” — Zoila Rivera (Jeff: Smart candidates don’t add color or detail to this question. Keeping it simple lets them find out where you take the question, revealing the leadership aspects that are important to you.)
- “How did your company handle the pandemic crisis?” — Kara Callahan (Jeff: Another question smart candidates keep simple. “How” — team building, operational changes, cost control, layoffs, etc. — is telling.)
- “What is your favorite thing about working here?” — Surbhi Agarwal
- “Can you share a story that exemplifies your culture?” — Linda Paustian
- “What key attribute are you seeking for this role that you haven’t seen in me?” — Jackie Mitchell
- “Who was one of the more successful employees that you’ve hired, and what was it about him or her that made that person such a great employee?” — Brenda Hansen
- “Where do you see the company in five years?” — Jon Bierer
- “What are your top three priorities/goals over the next six to twelve months, and how will this this position help you achieve those goals?” — Nikki d’Assis
- “Is this an incremental hire or replacement hire? If so whom does it replace, and why?” — Keith J. Vargas
- “What are the one or two biggest challenges I will face in this role?” — Kandi Gwynn
- “What does each of your team members do that contribute to the team’s success? What behavior could each person change that would make the team more successful?” — Jay Oza
- “Who is the best performer on your team, and why?” — Roxy L.
- “Aside from metrics, how do you measure success?” — Zeina Gharzouzi
- “When you’re complaining to your friends about work, what do you complain about?” — Karen McFarland (Jeff: Definitely a fun question. How would you answer? And what are you doing about the answer?)
- “What do you do to improve employee morale (and engagement)?” — Kim Shaw
- “Do you have any concerns about my qualifications?” — Alexandra Haefele
- “What question have I not asked that you thought I would, or should?” — Bill Landau