Questions to Ask in an Interview to Make You Stand Out

There are many considerations when you are pursuing a new job. The hiring process can vary greatly, so approaches from the interviewer and the interviewee can also vary. The goal for you as a candidate is to stand out from other applicants and secure the position for yourself. Much of what can help you stand out is asking the right questions and showing previous preparation for the questions. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the top questions you should ask during the interview process, and some of the top questions an interviewer may ask. 


Good Questions to Ask Before an Interview

One consideration is how you should conduct yourself before, during, and after an interview. Your goals are to make a good impression, stand out, instill confidence in the interviewers that you can perform what the position requires, and ultimately, secure the position. Often, you can achieve these goals with the right answers to interview questions and by asking the right questions of your interviewers. With the right questions and answers, you can make a great impression, secure the position, and take on the role with more knowledge and preparedness. Some good questions to ask before an interview are all about gaining knowledge of the company, culture, role expectations, and the hiring process.


“Do you work for the hiring company?”

If the company uses an external recruiter (like a Brightwing), this question will help you find out. The company will either be using an internal or an external recruiter. With an internal recruiter, you may be able to gain more information on the company’s culture. With an external recruiter, you may be able to gain more market knowledge, as well as good insight into how the interviewing process will unfold.


“Could you describe the ideal candidate?”

Knowing more about the ideal candidate can give you an impactful leg-up when preparing for and going into the interview. Know if you match the needs and desires of the company, if the role and company are a good fit for you, and match your own experience and skills to the ideal candidate in the interview.


“How quickly are you looking to fill the role?”

It may take several weeks to hear back after an interview. Asking how soon the company is looking to fill the role can give you an estimate of the pace of the interview process as a whole.


“How would you describe the culture?”

Before you go into the actual interview, you’ll also want to have an idea of the company culture. If you are conversing with a recruiter, they may have a good idea of what the culture is like. Otherwise, you can usually find information on the company’s website or social media.


Questions During an Interview

After you feel knowledgeable about the company and the role, it’s time to prepare more specifically. You’ll want to have proper preparation for the top interview questions the interviewer may ask. You will also want to prepare questions to ask in the interview. Each question or point the interviewer makes is an opportunity to ask your own questions or make insightful comments. The top 10 interview questions the interviewer may ask are all about your background, work preferences, responses to challenges and stress, work routine, and approaches to work and organization.


1. “Could you tell me about yourself and your background?”

This first question is an opportunity to stand out by expressing interests, experience, education, and background as a person outside and inside of the role. You can ask about their background.


2. “How did you hear about the position?”

Employers may want to know if you are actively pursuing their company, if an employee recommended you, or if you heard of the job from a recruiter.


3. “What work environment do you prefer?”

Prior knowledge of the company and its culture can pay off here. You can ask how much remote or in-person work there is.


4. “How do you respond to stressful situations?”

The employer will want to know how you respond to challenging situations and stress. You can ask about typical project timelines and routines.


5. “Do you prefer working on a team or independently?”

Most companies have team aspects, but you will want to be able to work both ways. You can ask how independent or team-driven the job is and how they communicate.


6. “How do you balance multiple projects?”

Many roles require that you be able to balance projects or duties. This is another opportunity to express how you organize and respond to pressure and deadlines.


7. “How did you improve your knowledge in the last couple of years?”

This question is more common as a result of the pandemic. Employers may want to know how you adapted and grew professionally. You can ask how the company adapted.


8. “What are your expectations regarding salary?”

You will want to know the average salary beforehand, but the employer may ask to ensure your range aligns with their budget. You can ask about career advancement.


9. “Would you like to speak more about this gap in your resume (or this short stint)?”

Resume gaps or job hopping can sometimes give a negative impression. Talk to your interviewer about what you learned through the experience. 


10. “Are you applying for other positions?”

The employer may want to gauge if you have genuine interest or if the position is just one of your options. Be honest but show interest. You can ask about the next steps in the process.


Good Questions to Ask After an Interview

At the end of your interview, consider asking these questions of your interviewer:

  • Why did you join the company, and what makes you stay? 
  • Is this a new role? If not, why did the employee leave?
  • What would a successful first 6 months look like? What would I have accomplished?
  • What does the growth path look like? Will I be able to stretch my skills? What does advancement look like?
  • What’s the vision for the company’s next 5 years? What makes you most excited about that future?
  • How will the team I’d be joining contribute to the company’s goals and growth?
  • What are the team’s biggest challenges? Strengths and weaknesses?
  • Who will I work with most closely on the team? Outside the team?
  • What makes working here different from anywhere else you’ve worked?
  • Has the company changed since you joined? How?

Politely thank them for their time and consideration, and send a thoughtful follow-up that thanks them and reiterates what value you’d bring to the table, as well as your strong interest in joining the team.


Stand Out in Your Interview With Brightwing

The interview process can be extensive and stressful, especially if it’s one of your first interviews. However, with some preparation, practice, and help from Brightwing, you can know questions to ask in an interview to make you stand out and fill the right role for you.

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