8 Interview Questions That Will Catch Hiring Managers Off Balance

Published: Apr 22, 2014

 Interviewing       Job Search       
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If you’re at the point where you’re preparing yourself for an interview, then you’ve already fought half the battle. You’ve made it through the gauntlet of application questions, recommendations, and resume touch ups. Now is your final shot. You need to not only ace the hiring manager’s interview questions, but also another critical element - your questions for the interviewer. 

Hiring managers spend all day interviewing candidates, so it’s critical that you stand out. These questions are the last impression the hiring manager will have, so make them count. Here are 8 questions that will catch hiring managers off balance and ensure you are the candidate they remember:


In your eyes, what would make a candidate successful in this role? 

This question shows two things: 

  1. You plan on being successful and you want to know what it takes to do so.
  2. You are interested in what they want to see in this role, not just what you think you can contribute. 

Too often candidates do not dig deep enough to find out exactly what their manager is looking for. They come in with ideas and preconceived notions and forget to ask this important question. This is also a great opportunity to reinforce how you are a perfect fit for the position.


Do you have any concerns with me as a candidate so far?

This is a tough question to ask, as well as a tough one to answer. But if the hiring manager has concerns about you, you want to find out now and not in two weeks when you receive the fateful canned rejection email. Hiring managers will be impressed that you are willing to put yourself out there like this and may appreciate the opportunity to discuss what is bothering them. No matter what concern is listed, make sure to address it and discuss how you would work through the problem.

What is the biggest challenge you’re currently facing in this role?

This question shows the hiring manager that you are serious about this position and are ready to tackle the challenges. It is also an opportunity to reinforce how your skills are a perfect match for whatever is plaguing them.


How do you see the company changing over the next 10 years?

This shows the hiring manager something very important - you’re in it for the long haul. More importantly, you care about where the company will be.

What is your favorite thing about working here? 

There's no question that you want to impress the interviewer and land the job. But you also want to find out what you can about what it’s really like to work at this company. After all, you will be spending most of your time there. It will be a nice change of pace for the interviewer to reflect on their job and should provide some insightful information about the company. The hiring manager will be impressed by your thoughtfulness and will likely enjoy answering the question.


What does the career path look like for someone in this role?

Not only are you in it for the long haul, but you also plan on succeeding and building your career with the company. The interviewer will be blown away that you’re thinking ahead and will know that you are a top performer.

How will performance be evaluated in this role? 

This question is important for both you and the interviewer. You can find out a lot about a company by how they evaluate performance -- is it subjective or objective? Will you be required to submit form after form? Or provide tangible proof of success? With this question, the hiring manager will know that you are serious about finding the right fit, not just trying to land the first job you can get your hands on.


What does a typical day look like for the person in this position? 

You already have the job description, so you know the expectations of the position, but the day-to-day activity can sometimes be very different. This will give you a great idea of the job, as well as the company. For the interviewer, you’re giving them an opportunity to talk about the position in a new light. Instead of focusing on the big picture, they have an opportunity to hone in on the details.

Landing a job is strenuous work and it isn’t over until the offer is signed. The interview is possibly the most important step in this process, so make sure to nail it by asking questions that will blow the interviewer away. Never forget - last impressions can be just as important as first impressions.


Related: The One Interview Question You Should Definitely Ask


Gerald Buck is the editor of EJobApplications’ career resources, an online tool for job seekers offering free downloadable job application forms, career advice, interview and resume tips. He can be reached via email at buckejobapplications@gmail.com or on Twitter @eJobApplication.