6 key questions candidates should ask in interviews

Vaco Questions candidates should ask during interviews graphic

Career moves are exciting, especially if you have a great opportunity at your fingertips. In the craziness of preparing to nail your interviews, it’s easy to forget that great job interviews go both ways. As important as it is for you to display your skills, personality, and experience to the hiring manager or department head, it’s also vital for you to get a sense of whether the role and company are the right fit for you. 

An easy way to do this is to head into your next interview with a prepared list of questions to ask. But these shouldn’t be just any routine questions. They should be carefully selected conversation points that will help you get a sense of the hiring company’s culture and values. They should also help you gain key insights into the role you’re applying for and how that role fits into the future of the company. 

Magaly Gomez, a Vaco partner who oversees the strategic staffing team in Los Angeles, has years of experience guiding job seekers on their professional journeys. Throughout her career, she has noticed two key advantages to asking great questions and how this can benefit candidates during the interview process.

Firstly, smart and thoughtful questions give job seekers a deeper look at the role, the team, and the company they’re considering joining. 

Secondly, most hiring companies appreciate a candidate who takes the time to explore the role and their organization more thoroughly. 

Gomez points out that when candidates ask great questions during an interview, it gives the hiring company a chance to gauge their emotional intelligence and understand what their professional goals and desires are. 

When a candidate and a hiring company can get to know each other during the interview process—outside of the standard technical questions—it helps both sides make a more informed decision when it’s time to either move forward or move on.   

Wondering which questions you should bring to your next interview? 

Check out Gomez’s list of top questions every candidate should consider asking:

Question 1: What kind of value do you look for in your team members?

It’s important to find out which qualities a potential employer values most in their employees. Whether it’s productivity, leadership, a can-do attitude, or bringing a unique perspective to the table, a hiring manager’s answer to this question can help you gauge how well your own skills and attitudes align with their expectations. 

Question 2: How does your company ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace?

Any company can say “yes” when asked if they’re actively working toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. The more valuable question is how they’re working toward it. Do they have a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committee or council within their organization? How do they ensure that each employee has equal access to training, upskilling, and promotions? Do they offer diverse mentorships or diversity training? Is DEI ingrained in the overall culture of the company or is it mostly isolated to the HR department? These questions are important because they can help gain deeper insight into the hiring company’s priorities and values.

Question 3: What kind of cultural landscape does your company want to create over the next 3-5 years?

Great companies know how important it is to attract and retain amazing team members. And they also know how important great company culture is in achieving that goal. It’s crucial for candidates to understand a hiring company’s plan for maintaining, improving, and bolstering their culture over time—especially if they want to stay in a role for the long run. If you value strong culture, this question can help you determine if a company’s cultural emphasis aligns with your own. 

Question 4: What adversity has your company faced and how have you overcome these obstacles?

Most hiring companies ask potential candidates for examples of challenges they’ve faced in their careers and how they dealt with them. This question is valuable because it gives them a chance to see how a candidate has reacted to adversity and to illustrate any lessons they learned. The same applies for candidates. The way a company reacts and adjusts to adversity is a telling indicator of the company’s values and resilience. 

Question 5: What challenges do you face in the industry?

Every company faces business challenges, especially in competitive industries. Learning about a hiring company’s biggest industry hurdles can help you get an understanding of the problems and challenges you would help solve in your new role. It can also help you see whether or not your own skills and aptitudes would be well utilized in the position. 

Question 6: Do you want to be a disruptor in the industry? If so, how? And what role would this particular position play in the process?

If you want a position that has the potential for growth, change, and exciting challenges, working at a company that is (or wants to be) an industry disruptor may be a good fit for you. This question also opens the door for a hiring manager to dive deeper into the specifics of the position you’re applying for. Does the company’s plan for the position align with your own goals? If not, the role may not be a good fit, especially long term. 

Take your job search to the next level

If you’re in the middle of a job search, an experienced recruiter can be your greatest resource, at all stages of your career.

Vaco is passionate about helping job seekers find their dream jobs and navigate their professional journeys. Not only do we help you with job opportunities, we can also help you put your best foot forward as a candidate. From providing resume and cover letter guidance to offering interview tips and key insights on the local market, Vaco is a strategic partner who’s with you all the way, from the day you’re hired to the day you retire. 

Whether you’re just starting out in your career, switching industries, or searching for your next executive opportunity, Vaco’s experienced recruiters can help you showcase your best qualities to the very best companies. 

Ready to work with Vaco on your next career move? Contact us today

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