Questions Hiring Executives Should Be Prepared to Answer from Candidates

When it comes down to it, an interview is more than checking boxes to see if a candidate meets the requirements of the position. You’ve seen the resume and know the candidate meets the qualifications for the position but are they the right fit for the company and with the work style of the manager and that of the team he or she will be working with. 

Many times, a hiring executive comes to an interview with a set list of questions specific to the position, possibly providing a scenario and asking the candidate how he or she would approach a particular situation and/or have they encountered something similar in the past and how did they handle and what was the resolution. That all provides good information, but what you also want to walk away from an interview is an understanding of who the candidate is, what makes them tick. 

From the get-go, making sure the candidate sees the interview as a two-way conversation is an excellent way to build rapport and determine if a candidate will be a good cultural fit in your organization. One of the ways to do that is to invite the candidate to ask questions about the position, the company, management style and so on.

So, what do candidates care most about these days and what kind of questions do they ask? Here, we have compiled several questions that our on the top of candidate’s mind and that we typically share with our Med Talent clients and encourage the hiring managers be prepared to answer. 

  1. What gets you most excited about the future of the company? This question is an indication that a candidate is attempting to build rapport and has a keen interest in the future of the company. For the candidate, it’s also a way to hear about the new and exciting things might around the corner that may not naturally come up. It also presents the opportunity to see what enthuses the hiring manager about the company and their role in its success. 
  1. What’s unique about working for this company compared to other company’s you have worked for? Here, a candidate is showing they are trying to get a good feel for the culture of company and to determine what makes this company stand apart from others with whom he or she may be interviewing. A candidate wants to know that the person they are interviewing with is invested in the company and what motivates them. It presents the candidate an opportunity to read between the lines a bit and feel comfortable knowing that the person they are interviewing with will be who they will be reporting to for the foreseeable future. 
  1. How do you think my background fits into this role? So many candidates walk out of an interview not knowing how they did. This question provides a candidate with real-time feedback and gives him or her a pulse on how the interview is going. It also opens the door for a candidate to ask the hiring manager if they have any concerns, which gives the candidate the opportunity to overcome objections or clear up possible misperceptions. For example, if there is concern that a candidate does not have experience with a certain software, this may not be accurate. Hearing this, a candidate can better frame their background and experience to turn that perception around. 
  1. How will this role further help the company’s mission and objectives? A candidate who asks this is demonstrating they are not just looking for a job but that he or she is invested in the company and interested in the greater purpose of the organization. Companies like to see a candidate who is looking to be part of a team. 
  1. What does your ideal office environment look like? Many candidates have been working from home or a hybrid schedule. Many want to maintain their current schedule while others prefer to be in the office five days a week. For a manager who prefers to work fully remote, a candidate may feel it’s hard to have communication and get feedback. Understanding how a hiring manager likes to structure his or her team and the expectations they have for the new hire, including after-hours work and activities, is helpful in moving the interview process forward, or a candidate may determine that it is not the right fit. 

Opening the door and making it comfortable for candidates to ask questions is a great way to facilitate a dialogue that goes deeper than traditional interview questions and provides you both with valuable insights that inform the decision to proceed. For the hiring manager’s part, that comes in the form of extending an offer; for the candidate, it’s determining if they feel they will be happy in the work environment and be able to contribute to the company’s growth given the structure.