Questions to ask your interviewer that will make you stand out

Every single job interview guide out there will tell you the same thing. The best way to end an interview is by asking the interviewer a question when prompted. Regardless of whether you’ve covered all bases during the interview, having some pre-prepared questions ready gives the interviewer the impression that you are both engaged and enthusiastic about the position. It’s also the perfect opportunity for you to determine whether you’d be happy working for this organisation and whether your goals are aligned or not.  

However, because asking a final question has become such an integral aspect of interview etiquette, it’s highly likely that your competition will also use this tact as a way of impressing the interviewer. This is why it’s crucial for you to avoid asking questions that are too generic and instead prepare questions that make you unforgettable to the interviewer. 

To help you prepare, here are some examples of fantastic questions you can ask your interviewer that will show that you aren’t just any old candidate. 

Have I answered all of your questions sufficiently? 

This might seem like an odd question to ask your interviewer, but it’s one that can be beneficial to both you and them. Whether you were nervous or concerned about time, there might have been questions during your interview that you didn’t elaborate on as much as you would have liked to. It’s also possible that your interviewer may have concerns or confusion about some of the answers you’ve provided. 

By asking this question after your interview, you’re showing that you want to perform well and that you’re conscientious about giving the best possible answer. Your interviewer will appreciate the offer even if they don’t take you up on it. Don’t let this dishearten you as it could indicate that your initial answers were exactly what they wanted to hear. 

However, if they do accept your offer to give them more details or a clearer explanation of something you said, stay calm and listen carefully to which answers they want more clarification on. Stay focused and make sure you are providing new information; not just repeating your initial answer. This opportunity to expand and redo some of your answers can help to leave a lasting impression that makes the interviewer’s decision to progress you further far easier. 

Who do you think would be the perfect candidate for this role, and how do I compare? 

By asking this question, you’re basically asking the interviewer whether or not you stack up to their idea of a perfect candidate. It can take a lot of guts to ask this kind of question, but it shows that you’re confident in your abilities and eager to gain feedback that can aid your development.  

The way you respond to their feedback will be what leaves the greatest impression on the interviewer. If you react negatively, you’ll be remembered for all the wrong reasons. So, listen carefully to the description they provide and the positive and negative points they make about your qualifications, skills and experience. 

Try not to be too disheartened if you don’t exactly match everything the interviewer is looking for. You might not have everything they think the ideal person for the role needs right now, but that doesn’t mean that you’re out of the running just yet. Remember, if they didn’t think you had something to offer, you wouldn’t have been invited for an interview. 

Do you have any hesitations about my skills, qualification or previous experience? 

This question encourages the interviewer to consider potential weaknesses that you may have or if there is anything that might be a barrier to you being the perfect person for the job. The interviewer won’t have many candidates who open themselves up to such harsh criticism or who encourages such candid discussions, so this is bound to make a big impression. 

Again, whatever feedback they give in response to this question,  remember to be patient and listen carefully. Don’t be overly defensive if you receive negative feedback. Instead, be understanding and offer some reassurance to the hesitations they may have. This could be all it takes to convince them that you’re a strong candidate for the role. 

While it’s a good thing to think outside of the box when preparing your questions before your interview, there are questions that you should never consider asking. Anything relating to salary, changes to the job role, rumours about the organisation or personal questions about the interviewer themselves are a big no-no. Asking these kind of questions can make you look highly unprofessional and self-serving; the exact opposite of how you want to look. Also, never ask a question that a quick Google search won’t give you the answer to such as what the company does or what products and services they offer.  

A good rule of thumb is to prepare at least four questions you want to ask beforehand. This ensures that even if two or three of your questions get answered during the interview, you’ve still got a back-up question to pose to the interview. Because not asking a question at all is the worst question of them all.  

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Darren Brown

29th August

Career Advice