If you really want that job, your interview prep needs to include figuring out what interview questions to ask employers. Asking the right questions makes a great last impression (nearly as important as the first), but your interviews’ answers can help you figure out if this job will provide the sense of purpose and fulfilment you’re craving.
Are they happy? Interview questions to ask employers to find out how fulfilled they feel in their role.
Q. What has the business taught you so far?
Answers to this one can be illuminating. Something they’ve learnt about the industry, about their profession or even about themselves, whatever your interviewer talks about will provide vital clues to what your experience may be like in their team. If they’ve learnt to hustle you know the company is ambitious, if they’re learnt resilience, you know you’ll need it too. If they’ve learnt nothing, absolutely nothing with this business, something’s wrong.
Q.What makes you proud about working here?
Read the room before asking this one. But if the mood seems right, this question will shine a light on how fulfilling this role could be. If your interviewer lights up with genuine pride, you know you’re onto a winner.
Q. What’s your favourite part of your job?
If your interviewer has done the exact job you’re interviewing for, fantastic, this question is golden. If not, you’re still getting insights into the kind of fulfilment and purpose possible with the business.
Impact: how to find out if your purpose and theirs are aligned.
Q.How/why was the company founded?
Purpose-driven businesses are invariably born out of a genuine drive and passion for positive change. Ask about where it all began to discover if the purpose that drives you, is driving them too. And tactically, this one is a great way for you to demonstrate your own passion and commitment to the cause.
Q.How do you measure impact?
Regular businesses gauge success through profit, for impact businesses, success = impact. There are many different ways to measure impact, the crucial part here is that they track their success in relation to their purpose. Answers should include the specific type of impact they create, who benefits from their impact and, how they measure it.
Q.What are the results so far?
This should come up throughout the course of your interview, but if the conversation is flowing then it’s easy to miss out the big stuff – for both you and the interviewer. So if you’re looking for a job where you can make a real impact, ask about theirs. Your interviewer should be able to give you specific measurements and examples of success. If they can’t provide details on the spot then they may point you to a reporting section on their website or even offer to send them through later via email. Either is fine, after all, your interviewee may be exhausted from a day of interviewing, but a blank face or vague answers are a red flag.
Behind the scenes: interview questions to ask employers to discover the vibe.
Q. What’s the company culture like?
Employers are less and less interested in skills box-ticking, and more interested in personal qualities. Skill can be taught, attitude can’t. Impact businesses want people who are mission-aligned (e.g. you both want to make the world a better place) AND also seamlessly fit into the existing culture. You’ll get an idea of what your interviewer is like, but they don’t represent the whole team, to find out the overall culture, ask.
Q. What is your management style?
Democratic, persuasive or lassez-faire? Do you like a headline and a deadline only, or is your style more close and collaborative? Ask this to get a sense of how their team works, and if it works for you.
Q. Why are you hiring for this role now?
Is this a new job because the company is growing? (Good sign) Has a long-standing team member been promoted? (Good sign) Or, are you the next in a long line because they haven’t found the “right fit”? (Bad sign, high staff turnover is always a bad sign).
Q. What type of people do well here and why?
‘Self-starter’, ‘good communicator’ and ‘problem-solver’ are qualities all employers are pretty standard – who doesn’t want a problem-solver? But your interviewer may already know exactly what ‘type’ of person they’re after. Whether it sounds like you or not is beyond your control, but this question gives you the opportunity to show them just how closely you match that spec.
Q. What advice would you give someone doing this role?
This is a real gem. Whatever answer you get to this question will reveal a lot.
Impress ‘em: questions to ask if you REALLY want to land the job (and that let your interviewer know that too).
Q. How would I be able to progress the role?
Ask this and your interviewer knows you’re thinking long-term. Recruitment is a huge hassle, it takes time and energy. The less they have to do it the better. Employers want people who are going to stick around and you want to progress your career, so any answer other than “you can’t”, means you’re on the same page.
Q. What reservations, if any, would you have about hiring me?
Yes, the potential here for awkwardness is real. But ask for the feedback now and you give yourself the chance to allay any concerns they may have. If you really want the job, take a deep breath and ask the question.