What’s the best/most impressive question you received from an interviewee during an initial interview?

Asked by Tommy on October 29, 2012

There are several questions that stand out in my mind:

1. Can you give me some examples of the most and least desirable aspects of the company’s culture?

2. I understand the attraction to [the company], but what have you experienced that makes you stay?

3. How will you judge my success? What will have happened six months from now that will demonstrate that I have met your expectations? 

I highly recommend asking questions that you really want  to know the answer to.  Your questions will indicate what is most important to you, be it culture, growth opportunities, or a challenging assignment.  Use the Q/A time in an interview to ask the important questions that will help you gauge if you would be comfortable, happy, and fulfilled in this work environment.

Answered by Dawn, Hiring Expert at Daikin Applied, on October 29, 2012

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We think it is very important to come prepared with questions (1-2) for each person you interview with. The questions can vary based on the position/company, but always impressed when candidates ask about the culture, measuring success, challenges, and future strategies.The questions you do ask should help you validiate why you want to work for the company, and interested in the opportunity.

Answered by Rodd, Hiring Expert at Gap Inc., on October 30, 2012

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A couple that come to mind are:

* What are the things that you know now that you wish you had known when you were in my shoes?

* What are the things that will most help me be successful in this position?

Answered by Deanna, Hiring Expert at IBM Corporation, on November 1, 2012

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It’s hard to think of just one question that stands out in my mind but the most impressive questions always center around the company and jobs rather than the details or what’s in it for you as the candidate. “Ask not what the company can do for you but what you can do for the company.”

The best questions to ask will vary by role, level, industry but it’s always best to start with questions like “What is the biggest problem that the person in this role will be asked to solve” or “If I were in this role, how could I make a real impact on profits, productivity, etc” before asking questions like “How quickly can I get promoted” or “How much would I get paid, how many vacation days do I get.”
The other line of questioning that is important is to gain an understanding of what the expectations are so you can determine if this role is the right fit for you. “How do you determine success in this role” – this is always impressive to the interviewer as it shows your interest and commitment to success.

Answered by Carrie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on November 1, 2012

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The best questions are the questions that show a candidate has done research on the company and the question relates to what they have researched. For example, “How do the company core values of X,Y,Z, relate to the work that I will be doing as an Analyst?” rather than, “Tell me what I will do as an Analyst on a daily basis.” - Laura, campus recruiter at Accenture

Answered by Siobhan, Hiring Expert at Accenture, on November 16, 2012

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The most impressive question(s) I have been asked have to do with the candidate actually picturing themselves working for my company. They usually revolve around inquiring about culture, longevity/ personal growth, and performance. Examples are:

  • Please explain the company’s culture – what are the pros and cons?
  • What made you choose to work for the company?
  • What does the typical career path look like for someone entering this role?

Answered by Samantha, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, on December 3, 2012

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Questions that demonstrate the candidate is already planning their integration into the role and team and a strong closing statement are always good.  
1. What do you expect from a top rated performer in this role?
2. What is your 30, 60, 90 day onboarding plan?
3. Are there any additional questions or further items needing clarification about my skills and experience?     

Answered by Dustin, Hiring Expert at Hewlett-Packard, on December 7, 2012

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I would have to say the best questions I have received during an interview are ones that showcase that the candidate has gone above and beyond to research the company…i.e. “I have noticed your stock process rising over the past year, what would you say is the contributing factor?” Additional questions that are impressive are ones that relate back to the specific role… i.e. I understand that this role will consist of XYZ, which happens to be my area of expertise. What would you say are the targeted deliverables that I will need to accomplish in my first 3 months?

Answered by Shaughn, Hiring Expert at Kellogg's, on February 8, 2013

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