4 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask at a Job Interview

4 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask at a Job Interview


Job interview prep is typically focused on the questions that a candidate will be asked, but the questions that a candidate asks are just as important. "Do you have any questions?" is an opportunity for candidates to show strategic thinking and professional approach beyond their work experience. The questions you ask can set you apart from other candidates who might be equally as qualified.

Candidate questions can also be used to strategically create opportunities to frame your qualifications in the most relevant light. These are four such questions that you should ask during your next job interview.

What would you say is the company's biggest competitive advantage in the industry?

Understanding a company's competitive strengths and differentiators can be the difference between a good employee and a great, forward-thinking employee. Asking about the company's positioning within the industry demonstrates that you have awareness and perspective outside of a company's walls, and you can use this conversation to demonstrate your expertise about the industry at large.

The specific phrasing of this question is also important. You aren't asking the interviewer what the company's competitive advantages are - you should already know those from researching the company ahead of time. Rather, you're asking your interviewer what they think the biggest advantage is, where you can then follow up with how your job skills compliment that strength.

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What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Many interviews focus only on the positive aspects of an open role. Asking about the challenges that the interviewer faces in their day-to-day can lead to a more honest, holistic conversation about the role and the company while also demonstrating that you're the type of employee that does their due diligence before accepting a position.

This question also opens up an opportunity to tell about similar challenges that you've faced in your career, and what you've learned from overcoming those challenges.

How would you define success for this role?

Job descriptions will often detail the company's ideal candidate while listing out desired qualities and experience, but these descriptions rarely distill success down to a singular vision.

Asking the interviewer to define success will give you a more direct and focused mission statement for the role, and shows that you are focused on the broader scope of success rather than just the day-to-day assignments. Best of all, you can follow up on the interviewer's answer by explaining how your qualifications can help achieve that success.

What is your proudest accomplishment while working here?

A job interview is as much a chance for you to interview the company as it is for the company to interview you. In general, you should always pay close attention to how the interviewer describes their company culture and job satisfaction to identify potential red flags or negative work environments.

Asking the interviewer about their proudest accomplishment gives them an opportunity to sell both the company's work and their own personal achievements, which shows them that you are interested in successes beyond your own personal fulfillment. This also tells the interviewer that you take pride in your work, and that you connect emotional satisfaction to a job well done instead of taking a solely transactional approach.

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