Unique Interview Questions To Ask An Employer

By Abby McCain
Aug. 16, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

The last question of almost every job interview is usually some version of, “Do you have any questions for me?”

Your answer to this question should always be yes. Afterall, you are also interviewing the hiring manager to see if you want the job.

We have pulled together some example questions to ask your interviewer and provided some interview tips to help you at your next interview.

Key Takeaways:

  • The interview is the best time to determine if the job you applied for is the best job for you.

  • Even if the interviewer gives you a thorough description of the job, there are some things you find out when you start asking questions.

  • These questions will help encourage your interviewers to share their unique perspectives and experiences instead of giving their regular spiels and answers.

  • Before your interview you will want to practice any common interview questions to be prepared, and you will want to write down any questions you want to ask your interviewer.

Unique Interview Questions To Ask An Employer

Why Should You Ask Your Interviewer Questions?

Just as an interview is an opportunity for the company to see if you’re a good fit for the particular role and the company culture, it’s also an opportunity for you to interview the company to find out if it’s a good fit for you.

Asking questions at your interview is your chance to get the information you need to decide whether or not you’ll accept a job offer. Even if your interviewer gives you a thorough tour and introduction to the company, there are certain things that you can only find out by asking questions.

Plus, asking questions shows hiring managers that you’re already invested in the position and company, improving your overall chances of making it to the next round of interviews or getting a job offer.

17 Unique Questions to Ask Your Interviewer

Asking basic questions such as, “What is the company culture like?” or “What future opportunities would I have if I was hired for this role?” can be helpful and get you much of the information you’re looking for, but asking more creative or thoughtful versions of the same questions allows you to get deeper and, at times, more truthful answers.

A number of the questions on this list are designed to help you find out about the same topics that those basic questions do, but they go about it in a way that encourages your interviewers to share their unique perspectives and experiences instead of giving their regular spiels.

  1. What would make the ideal candidate for this position? How do I compare?

    This question is a more subtle and insightful way to ask, “How did I do?” (something you should never actually ask in those words, by the way).

    The answer you get will give you a better idea of whether or not you are the company’s ideal candidate, helping you know if you should move on and look for additional opportunities or continue investing your time and energy into this one. It also may give you insight into whether or not the company and position are a good fit for you.

    For example, if you’re a salesperson and your favorite part about your job is getting to build relationships with your clients, you might not be happy working for an organization that wants an employee who is good at following a script and pushing customers through as quickly as possible.

  2. Where do you see the company heading in the next five years? How would the person in this role help reach that vision?

    Asking this question shows that you’re invested in the company as a whole and are in it for the long haul, qualities that most hiring managers value in job candidates.

    It also will hopefully give you a better understanding of the role you’d be filling in the company so that you know what you’d be getting into.

  3. How would you score the company on living up to its core values? What’s something the company is actively working to improve on?

    This question is designed to help you find out more about what the company is actually like. Every company has something to improve on, so hearing what this one’s weaknesses are can help you know what you’d be stepping into.

    If the answer is “perfectly” and “nothing,” that could be a bad sign about the organization’s culture, but it might also simply be a reflection on the particular interviewer’s attitude toward the company — something to note if the person interviewing you is your potential future boss.

  4. What makes people stay at this company?

    This is a more creative version of the common question, “What is the company culture like?” Asking why people stay at the company frames this question in a new way, giving you a more complete picture of what it’s like to work there.

    The “right” answer, in this case, depends on what’s important to you in a workplace.

    If the answer is the culture of respect and collaboration, for example, that may be an ideal situation for someone looking to get out of a toxic environment. On the other hand, an answer about generous benefits might be exactly what a parent of young kids is looking for.

  5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

    This is a great way to get to know your interviewer and to see how your career goals line up with theirs. They don’t need to be an exact match, especially if your interviewer works in an entirely different department or capacity, but their answer can give you a better idea of whether or not you’re a good fit for the organization.

    If they share that they and everyone else in the department are hoping to be at an entirely different company in a few years, that would tell you that this job could be more of a stepping stone than a career.

    On the other hand, if they say they’d like to be managing the department they work in, that can be a good sign that there’s a lot of movement within the company and that people like to stick around.

    Again, though, the “right” answer depends on your goals, and remember that this is just one person’s perspective, not the whole organization’s.

  6. What is one of the most interesting projects you’ve worked on at this company?

    This question is especially good to ask interviewers who are working in a department or role similar to the one you would be in if you got the job.

    Their answers will give you a better understanding of the types of projects you may work on, but more than that, they could give you insight into how the department or company operates.

  7. Do you have any project examples I could see?

    This is a good follow-up question to the previous one, or it can serve as a standalone query. Either way, it’s a good way to find out more about the types of projects you’d be working on and to get a better understanding of what the company does.

    Plus, interviewers often like showing off their company and their work, allowing you to build your relationship with them further. Just be mindful that you might not be able to see everything due to confidentiality agreements or industry secrets.

  8. What are some challenges your department or company is currently facing and working to solve?

    Asking this question shows that you have depth and are interested in furthering the organization instead of just your own career. The answer you receive will also provide you with valuable information about the situation you’d be jumping into and may give you further insight into the culture of the organization or department.

    If the challenges your interviewer lists are interoffice drama or working through red tape instead of examples of how they’re solving problems with innovation and collaboration, that might be a red flag.

  9. What are some examples of how I would collaborate with my manager if I were hired for this role?

    Every boss has a different management style, and every employee has a different management style preference for their bosses.

    Asking this question gives you the chance to hear more about your potential future boss’s management style and if the culture is one of collaboration or not. Working in an environment where your superiors don’t want to work with you can be draining and discouraging since you don’t get to use your skills and talents to their fullest potential.

  10. What soft skills are vital to being successful in this role and company?

    Generally, the technical skills you’ll need to get a job will be the same or similar across multiple positions within the same industry. The particular soft skills a company desires in its employees can vary widely, though, and can say a lot about its values as an organization.

    When you ask this question, the response you receive can help you decide if the company will be a good fit for you or not.

  11. I read ___ about this company in __ publication. Can you tell me more about it?

    While the answer you get to this question may be genuinely interesting, the main point of asking this question is to show that you’ve done your research on the company.

    Your spending this time and energy on the organization before you’re even hired will show that you’re truly invested in it, which will go a long way in continuing to build your credibility as the best candidate for the job.

  12. Has your role changed since starting with the company?

    This question is a good way to find out a little more about how promotions work within the company.

    Even if your interviewers haven’t gotten promoted but have gotten to take on projects they’re truly interested in, you’d be able to see whether or not the organization allows employees to work within their passions and skills even if the original job description doesn’t match those.

  13. What makes an employee great instead of good at this company?

    Asking this of your interviewer shows that you are committed to being the best employee possible. The answer you’re given can also reveal the company’s values and what its definitions of success are, giving you even more insight into whether or not the organization is a good fit for you.

  14. What are some of the challenges I’d face in this position?

    Again, the answer to this question allows you to see more clearly if you’d be a good fit for this position or not. If the answer is “time management,” that’s very different from an answer such as “ethical dilemmas.” The answer you receive might further pique your interest in the position, or it may help you see that it isn’t the right job for you.

  15. What is the most important issue the person in this position should take care of on their first day?

    This question is a unique take on the goals and purpose of the position. You can pair it with another question about its long-term goals, but this one gives you perspective on what your role will be like as soon as you enter it.

  16. What industry conferences do people in this department or company attend?

    It’s important to know how a company approaches professional development before you sign on. If no one attends conferences, that can be a red flag about the organization’s culture, depending on the industry.

    Also, note that it’s always better to ask this question and others like it from a positive assumption instead of asking, “Does anyone attend industry conferences?”

  17. What does success look like at this company?

    This may not be the most unique question you could ask, but it is effective and shows that you’ve put a lot of thought into this position and the interview. It also shows that you care about being successful in the job, not just about landing it.

    In addition, its answer will likely give you an interesting insight into the company’s culture and expectations that you probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

Interview Tips

  1. Practice your answers. Before your interview, go over your answers to some common interview questions. The goal with this isn’t to memorize anything; it’s to help you get in the right headspace so that your answers will flow more naturally and readily.

    You should also think up a few different anecdotes that highlight your skills and go over your resume and job application to remind yourself of the main points you want to work into your answers whenever you can.

    This “warmup” of sorts will help you feel much more confident and free up your mind to focus on the tough interview questions instead of having to spend all its energy on the more basic ones.

  2. Write down a list of questions you can ask your interviewer. Even though you shouldn’t plan on asking more than four or five, you should bring far more than that.

    This way, as some get answered throughout the rest of your interview, you still have some left to ask at the end of your meeting.

  3. Dress appropriately. This doesn’t always mean you have to wear a full suit. Levels of formality vary between industries and companies, so if you can, research what the culture is at the company you’re interviewing with and then go one step above.

    For example, if you’re applying for a job at a small graphic design company that you know is a casual environment, slacks, a button-up shirt, and a tie will be plenty formal for men, while a nice dress or slacks and a button-up shirt for women will be appropriate.

    If you’re applying for a job at a finance company or a law firm, however, a full suit would probably be best.

    The most important things to remember when choosing your interview outfit are:

    • Dress more formally than you would on a normal workday

    • Don’t choose distracting or flashy clothes

    • Clean and wrinkle-free is more important than trendy

    • If in doubt, err on the side of overdressed

  4. Plan to arrive 30 minutes early. Arriving on time to an interview is late, and arriving early is on time.

    While walking in the door 30 minutes before your appointment is probably too early, you do want to be inside 10 to 15 minutes before your interview, so the extra time allows you a cushion if you take a wrong turn or can’t find a parking spot.

    If everything ends up going perfectly and you do arrive too early, you can always sit in the car for a few minutes.

  5. Relax and remember your interviewers are human too. They want to hire someone they’ll enjoy working with, so don’t be afraid to smile and engage in small talk. Keep it to professional topics and don’t ask any personal questions, but feel free to loosen up and show hiring managers how great it would be to have you around the office.

    They’ve already read your resume and liked your qualifications enough to invite you to an interview, so use this face-to-face meeting as an opportunity to round out the picture and show them what you’re like as a person.

More Questions to Ask Your interviewer

  • What is the company’s overall leadership style like?

  • How often are performance reviews done?

  • How often are employees promoted?

  • Do you feel supported by the company?

  • What do you like best about your position?

  • Can you tell me about the other members of this position’s department?

  • How does this position contribute to to the company’s overall goals?

  • What’s one thing you’re hoping a new person can bring to this position?

  • What about my resume caught your attention for this position?

  • How long has the job been open and where are currently in the hiring process?

  • What are some traits that would not make someone fit for this role?

  • What are you hoping I’d accomplish in the first year here?

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Author

Abby McCain

Abby is a writer who is passionate about the power of story. Whether it’s communicating complicated topics in a clear way or helping readers connect with another person or place from the comfort of their couch. Abby attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she earned a degree in writing with concentrations in journalism and business.

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