4 Types of Questions Hiring Managers Love to Hear in Job Interviews

published Aug 9, 2023
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You’ve prepared well for your job interview and are ready for just about any question the hiring manager asks. But are you ready with some questions of your own? You should be if you want the job.

“A job interview is not only an employer’s chance to learn more about candidates, [but] it’s also an opportunity for candidates to ask questions and understand more about the company and the position they are applying for,” says Trevor Bogan, regional director of the Top Employers Institute in North America. He says while the onus is, of course, on hiring managers to ask most of the questions, “Candidates who ask thoughtful, engaging, and insightful questions could also impress their prospective employers.”

Need some help on what to ask during your next interview? Here are some topics hiring managers want you to cover when it’s your turn to do the asking.

Topic 1: Collaboration and Productivity in a Remote Environment

Pat Mulvey, director of talent acquisition at Saatva, a luxury sleep company, says the best questions he’s received from job candidates pertain to how well the company’s remote employees work together. “Candidates seek reassurance that the company provides the necessary tools and infrastructure to replace the day-to-day ‘in-office’ experience,” he says.

Here are some questions you may wish to consider asking if you’re interviewing for a remote position.

  • Are there quarterly “get-togethers” for teams?
  • What technologies are we using to support collaboration?
  • Do I have a regular one-on-one meeting with my manager each week?

Topic 2: The Company’s Vision and Culture

You can learn about a company by looking at its web page and LinkedIn posts, but that’s really just a small glimpse into the company’s vision and culture. Kara Ayers, head of global talent acquisition at Xplor Technologies, says she’s “always impressed by ‘bigger picture’ questions that show candidates care about the vision, ethics, and culture of the company. Here are some questions in this vein.

  • What is the biggest issue or challenge the company is currently facing? 
  • How are high performers currently recognized?
  • What are the additional tasks or characteristics that are not in the job description that have made someone successful in this role? 

If you think it’s too forward to ask a hiring manager, “Why do you like working for this company,” think again, says Ayers. She has also been impressed by candidate questions aimed at “trying to understand my personal ‘why,’” she says. 

“It is important to find out if the recruiter is truly enthusiastic about the organization or simply going through the motions,” Ayers explains. “These interactions will tell you a lot about how employees are treated and what the culture is really like.”

Credit: Marina Andrejchenko/Shutterstock

Topic 3: How It Started … How It’s Going

A job interview’s focus is on what you can bring to the company and how your skills can contribute to its goals. That might sound like it’s all future-focused, but history matters, too, says Ayers. She recommends asking questions such as the following:

  • How has this position evolved/changed over time? 
  • What do you think the biggest challenges are going to be in this role/for the business in the year? 

Note that if you are interviewing for a newly created role, you can take the opportunity to ask about what led to this staff expansion and how it will impact the future success of the company.

Topic 4: Employee Retention 

There are many companies that seem to be perpetually hiring. Is that a testament to their growth or indicative of a toxic workplace leading to a revolving door of talent? Ask during your interview. Raquel Gomes, founder and CEO of Stafi, a virtual assistant hiring company, is impressed when candidates ask questions like the the following:

  • Am I replacing someone who left? If so, what takeaways did you get from that person leaving? 
  • Are you thinking of implementing new ideas to retain people in the future?
  • What are the main reasons why someone would get promoted to this position? How long does it take?

“Nowadays, it’s not the company choosing the candidates, but the candidates choosing the company,” says Gomes, adding that it’s “mandatory” for hiring managers to recognize how things have changed. “If you don’t, you’re going to lose the most qualified talent,” she says.

Credit: Getty Images | blackCAT

Why Your Own Questions Matter During a Job Interview

Even if you’ve had multiple rounds of interviews and have a firm grasp of the company’s mission and culture, you still need to ask some questions of your own for one simple reason: “Not having a question sends a signal that you are not interested,” says Mulvey. 

Here are some questions you can ask the hiring manager to show your passion for this opportunity.

  • What is the thing you like best about working here? 
  • What are the attributes necessary to be successful at this company or this job? 
  • How are your products/services better than your competitors? 

“[Asking questions] shows engagement in the role and company, which often can be a differentiating factor between you and the other candidates,” Mulvey explains.