You can learn a lot about candidates, not just from the answers they give to your interview questions but from the questions that they ask you during or at the end of the interview when prompted. Candidates who ask no questions at all, (or who ask basic questions where the answer can easily be found on the website), demonstrate low levels of enthusiasm and engagement with your organization. But, candidates who ask more thoughtful questions are more likely be highly engaged with and informed about your employer brand and are more likely to have the right attitude to succeed.
In the first part of this article we outlined four questions that great candidates ask – and described what it says about them and these were:
1. What are your team’s key objectives for the next 12 months?
2. What are the key priorities for the job incumbent?
3. What aspects of this job are most challenging and sometimes keep you up at night?
4. Can you outline the career progression opportunities within the business?
In the second part of this article we have outlined four more questions great candidates ask:
1. Having assessed my application fully, what are my strengths and weaknesses for this role?
This is a great question as this shows that they can accept negative feedback in an empowering way, indicating a good level of emotional intelligence. It’s also a closing signal, which is that they are trying to close the deal by uncovering any niggling doubts or final obstacles and addressing them there and then, (or in a follow up email), moving themselves closer to their destination. This shows that the candidate really wants to work for you and is prepared to put in additional effort beyond just responding to interview questions to get it.
2. Would you like to know what unique contributions I can make to your team and company?
This is a wonderful question, which is also another “deal closing” question as this shows that the candidate is not simply expecting to come to your business to make up numbers and pick up their monthly check. Hiring a passenger and not a participant is probably one of the biggest fears of a small employer. This question shows that the person is visualizing success in the role and is expecting to be a contributing employee in your business – and can even show you how they mean to do it.
3. Can you describe your management style (and perhaps give an example)?
Research is showing that the relationship between an employee and their direct manager is one of the most crucial relationships in the business. Employees with good relationships with their manager tend to stay longer and are more engaged. This is therefore a great question as the employee is trying to see how well their preferred working style and your preferred managerial style are aligned. It’s a very good exploratory question – and indicates that the employee places an emphasis on manager relationships in their success.
4. What training and development opportunities do you offer?
This is another question that can scare employers who don’t have a formal training budget, but plenty of employers do have a training budget and so this is a fair question and shows that the employee has a learning mentality, which is crucial to success. Do you really want someone who thinks they are the finished product and doesn’t believe they can learn any more. Even top CEOs, like the late Steve Jobs and Bill Gates believed in lifelong learning. If you don’t offer formal training, you might want to spin this around a little, (assuming it wasn’t asked in this anyway), and respond with, “We build in time for self teaching into our project budgets and how do you feel about that?” Their answer will help to clarify if your learning philosophies are aligned.
I’d love to hear what other questions you consider to be indicative of a great candidate.