In any interview, the last impression you leave is just as important as the first. So when the interview is wrapping up, and your potential employer inevitably asks, “So, do you have any questions?” you should be prepared. This is your chance to stand out from the dozens of other interviewees by asking an insightful or unique question. I reached out to a few industry professionals to ask about some of the most memorable and stand-out questions they’ve been asked. Then I created this list of the five best questions to ask in an interview to help you land the position you’re applying for.
“What are the big projects you’re working on this year, and how will I be a part of them?
A great way to get your interviewer to envision you as a potential employee is to talk about the future. Instead of only focusing on your past accomplishments, try to hint at the work you could do in the future if you’re hired. One way to do this is to ask about the future goals of the company and what projects are currently in the works. This is your chance to showcase some of your ideas and brainstorm some contributions you can bring to the company.
Madisen Theobald, College Fashionista alum and associate manager of social media at Allure shared the questions she asked during her own Allure interview. One of her go-to questions was asking what the company would be focusing on in the coming 12 months, and how the role she’s interviewing for would be involved. “This one will hopefully get the interviewer excited about the future—and you too! I love listening to what I could potentially be working on. I would put myself into the questions by asking, ‘How can I be a part of them?’ This makes you seem eager and interested to get involved,” says Madisen. Not only will this question give you an idea of what projects you could be working on, but it’s also an opportunity to show what you can contribute to the team.
“What has been your biggest accomplishment in your current role?”
Make the most of every interview you go to by trying to learn something from your interviewer (who is more than likely an experienced professional in the field). Flip the script of a traditional interview by moving the focus away from your achievements, and asking your interviewer about theirs. By asking about their accomplishments and what they’ve learned from the job, you can show your interest in getting to know more about them and the company.
College Fashionista alum Marisa Flacks, founder of Rise Creative Co., a creative marketing and brand strategy agency that works with ethical fashion and lifestyle brands, says she was surprised when an intern took the initiative to ask this question. “I was taken back by the question because interviewees usually ask me what the position would entail or more about their own position. But this intern showed they had an interest in learning more about the company along with myself by asking about our achievements since launching,” says Marisa. By being an engaged and curious candidate (rather than just pitching yourself as a potential intern), you can impress your interviewer with your eagerness to learn more about the work they’re doing.
“What inspired the mission statement of this company?”
One of the most important parts of preparing for an interview is to research the company ahead of time. Make sure you go into the interview with a good idea of what makes the brand unique. Being knowledgeable and passionate about the mission and values of the place you want to work will set you apart from other candidates. This will show the interviewer that you’re enthusiastic about what they do and are genuinely excited about the opportunity to be a part of it.
Alex Shadrow, founder and CEO of UNItiques, a free fashion marketplace where college girls can buy and sell clothes, shoes, and accessories, says she loves when candidates ask about her company’s mission statement and are eager to learn more about it. “First, reiterate the mission statement to show you have an understanding of the company. Then, ask about it. For example, ‘I love how UNItiques’ mission is to empower a movement of entrepreneurial women. What inspired you for this to be your mission?’,” Alex explains. This is your chance to not only demonstrate your passion for the company’s core values, but also to learn what would be expected of you as an employee.
“What do you enjoy most about working at this company?”
Interviews are a chance for your interviewer to get an impression of you and for you to get a glimpse inside the company you’re applying to. While it’s important to focus on conveying all the reasons why you’re a good candidate for the job, you should also use the opportunity to find out what it would be like to work there. Everyone has a favorite part of their job—whether it’s the perk of being able to travel and attend exclusive events or simply having a tight-knit relationship with co-workers—and your interview is a chance to find out the unique aspects of working at the company. After all, part of a successful interview is seeing if the job is a good fit for you.
Jennifer Mulrow, assistant beauty editor at Glamour, believes that asking about an interviewer’s favorite part of the job is a helpful and positive way to end an interview. “I’ll typically try to ask questions throughout an interview as they come up naturally, but as far as final questions to end on, I like to ask what the interviewer enjoys most about working at their company. Not only does it end the interview on a positive note, but it also helps you get a sense of what the work environment is like there, which is super important!” says Jennifer.
“What are the biggest challenges this job presents?”
While you want to go into any interview ready to showcase all your accomplishments and experience, it’s also good to let your interviewer know you’re still eager to learn. Open up the conversation beyond why you want the job and what qualifies you, and take the chance to ask your interviewer about what to expect if you’re hired. Each internship or job is a chance to learn and advance your skills—and it can be helpful to acknowledge that from the start.
Nancy Einhart, Executive Editor of Popsugar, admits that she admires when interns and employees recognize their own areas for improvement. As far as great questions to ask at the end of an interview, Einhart recommends asking about the biggest challenges you might face on the job based on your résumé and experience. “I think admitting that you have something to learn is one of the traits I appreciate most in an employee. This lets us discuss the potential challenges together in a productive way.” While your interviewer will likely appreciate your readiness to be challenged and improve from experience, you’ll gain some insight into how you can best approach the job when you’re hired.
What are your go-to questions to ask in an interview? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured photo by @lizbreuer.