Unique interview questions to ask an employer (With tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 22 January 2023
Published 30 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
In a typical interview, you answer questions from an interviewer, but sometimes you may have questions of your own. If you have questions about the company and what they expect of you, there is room to ask them in an interview. Asking valid questions under the right conditions can help you find the answers you desire while making a good impression on the employer. In this article, we discuss why it's commendable to ask the employer questions, list tips for asking valid questions and provide examples of unique questions to ask an employer in an interview.
Related: How to prepare for an interview
14 unique interview questions to ask an employer
There is an endless list of unique interview questions to can ask an employer in an interview. From personal development to organisation goals and achievements, here are 14 unique interview questions to ask an employer:
1. What stood out to you most about my resume?
Your resume introduces you to the employer before they hear from you. Being called for an interview signifies that your resume includes some key attributes they want for the role. The response can help you focus on improving those qualities in the future.
2. What's the most important contribution you want from an employee in this role?
Every employer has expectations of their employees, including the new ones. Asking what these contributions are can help you understand what your roles are in detail. It can also help you know what areas of the job to prioritise.
3. What are the top skills that you want from every employee?
Unique skills make employees the right fit for their position and the organisation as a whole. Knowing what these skills are can enable you to find ways to develop them before the appointment date or early in your appointment. These skills can also make you adapt quickly to your new surroundings.
4. What do you consider a positive start after the first quarter?
Sometimes, an organisation's definition of success can differ from an employee's. Asking what the employer defines as success in the first few months of an appointment shows ambition and an eagerness to perform according to the company's standards. It can also help you carry out personal appraisals to measure your performance.
5. What are your current goals for the department?
Besides personal goals for each employee, companies also have departmental goals for a whole unit. This question can show the employer that you place team goals ahead of personal ambitions. You can consciously ensure your productivity drives the team to meet the departmental target when you know what the departmental goals are.
6. What are the chances of succeeding in this role?
Your tone is key to making the interviewer receive this question well. This question can make the employer understand that productivity is your focus and how keen you are to succeed in the position. Employers usually give encouraging answers to this question that can inspire you.
7. How can my role impact the entire organisation positively?
Every role impacts the fortunes of an organisation in various ways. Questions like these can make the employer think deeply for answers. Learning how much potential your role has can give you a new appreciation for your position and abilities.
8. What are your top competitors and what do you think they do better?
Companies are aware of their competitors and they monitor their activities to find out what their future projects are and how they intend to execute them. Employers also know the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors and how they could affect them. This question shows you are aware of the gravity of competing with top brands and are already thinking of ways to exploit their weaknesses.
9. What opportunities for career advancement are available here?
Career advancement is one priority of an ambitious professional and looking for employment where your career can grow is essential. The opportunities to study further, improve skills and gain industry exposure differ across organisations. Answers you get from the employer can help you determine if the job is right for you.
10. What is your company culture and how does it impact productivity?
Companies operate in unique ways that employees and third parties recognise. These methods set them apart from their competitors and can be the catalyst of the company's success. Employers are usually pleased to answer this question, especially those who consciously built a sustainable work culture.
11. What does a typical workday look like in this role?
This question can help you understand what to expect on your days at work. From collaborating with colleagues to the average working hours, a typical workday may differ from what you assumed. Employers usually trivialise these concerns and it can please them to know that you are looking forward to your first day of working with them.
12. What other tasks are there outside of the job description?
The responsibilities for every position are usually in the job advert. When the employer interprets this question properly, they realise that you are eager to carry out more duties than the basics when necessary. They usually mention one or two tasks a superior may ask you to do.
13. What are the high standards you intend to maintain in this company?
Employers appreciate acknowledgements for their efforts and the standards they set for their organisations. Asking how to maintain those standards can imply that you are interested in upholding them. It can also cause the employer to think of ways to raise their current standards.
14. Can you start hiring if the candidate is ready to start immediately?
Most employers want to hire individuals who can start working immediately after they offer them the job. The employer normally asks if you can start working with them immediately. When this question comes from you, it implies that you are ready to begin working with them.
Related: Questions to ask at an interview
Reasons to ask unique interviewer questions to the employer
Having unique interview questions to ask the employer can have many advantages. Here are reasons to ask the employer some interview questions:
For a deeper understanding of their expectations: To find out precise information about the employer's job requirements and expectations, asking a question can provide helpful answers. It can also imply that you are professional and are interested in adding value to the organisation.
To build rapport with the employer: Although interviews are formal meetings where the conversations are about the position in question, you can build rapport by asking valid questions. Being on good terms with the employer can enable you to get more information on how to improve your chances of securing the job.
To highlight your skills: Certain interview questions prove your ability to communicate, think critically and solve problems. Take advantage of these questions to remind the interviewer of the value you can add to the organisation.
To learn more about the organisation: Asking questions during the interview can give you vital information about the achievements of the organisation, the culture, history and its goals. Learning about their history can also give you a newfound appreciation for the organisation.
Related: 16 types of interviews
Tips for asking the interviewer a question
There are ways to ask certain questions that make the interviewer keen to give an honest reply. Follow these tips to ask unique questions that can improve your chances of getting a favourable response:
Prepare your questions before the interview
Preparing the questions to ask the employer at the interview in advance can help you maintain composure. Carefully selecting your questions beforehand can help you find time to rehearse how you present them. While you research the company, ask questions and take note of information concerning the current state and history of the employer.
Only ask your question at the end of the interview
During the interview, note that you are the primary recipient of the questions and not the interviewer. Save your questions for later while the interviewer speaks. Before the end of the interview, the interviewer may ask if you have questions. Ask your questions then. If the interviewer forgets or fails to ask if you have questions, let them know you have a question.
Ask questions related to achieving organisational goals
Many of the appropriate questions to ask at the interview are opportunity-related. Select the ones that suggest how the company can achieve its goals through your expertise. If you have more than one question to ask, the second one can be about career development.
You can make a good impression on the employer by taking notes in an interview. Although you can take notes with your smartphone or tab, using a notepad made of paper is more appropriate. Scribble some key points from the responses and ask a question from those points.
Ask positive, thought-provoking questions
When you ask a question, ensure that it is thought-provoking. You can ask questions that move an employer closer to finding solutions to current business challenges. Such questions prove your critical thinking ability and show that you can challenge the organisation to think bigger and achieve great success.
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