How Engaged are your Interviewees? 7 Questions That They Should Be Asking

Summer isn’t here yet (that would be June 21st) but I’m already in the market for a new shoe. I’ve got a few road races planned and am going to be pounding the pavement hard, but there’s just one problem. Actually, it was a problem last year too. Fit. I just can’t seem to find the right shoe for my feet and I’m getting soreness and blisters all the time.

Finding the right fit for a job is crucially important to employee engagement. Job fit is directed by multiple variables such as personality, cultural fit, technical skill, soft skills, etc. There’s something that we think would be valuable to add to your list of considerations, however, and that’s the interview questions interviewees ask. Why? Because good interview questions from potential candidates reflect how engaged and eager candidates are in knowing about your company and to see if they fit in it. As employees, those candidates are likely people who will remain engaged.

Here are 7 questions that U.S. News & World Report’s Aaron Guerrero lists:

1. What do you like most about working for this company?

Interviewees that ask this want further insight into the culture of the company. Your interviewer wants to see if what he/she values about the company is similar to how you value the company. If those are similar, great. If not, perhaps that candidate is thinking that it isn’t the right fit.

2. How has this position evolved?

The candidate may be trying to assess whether there is growth in the job opening. He or she may be asking “Is there an opportunity for growth here and how much?” Timothy C. Clark writes in his book “Employee Engagement Mindset” about the six drivers of employee engagement: Connect, Shape, Learn, Stretch, Achieve and Contribute. An evolving position indicates how much the candidate can learn, stretch and achieve. If the position has great potential for growth this produces strong engagement.

3. Can you give me examples of how I would collaborate with my manager?

This question may open up into many other topics that the candidate may be curious about. For instance, he/she could be curious about the power distance between manager and subordinate. Further, is collaboration part of the onboarding process? Is mentorship part of the onboarding process? Who is my mentor? In what way can one showcase their skills if management collaboration is not part of the culture.

4. What are the first priorities for this position?

This question shines on several levels. It shows eagerness to perform well. It also shows that the candidate recognizes there are challenges and competing priorities in the job. Finally, it shows that the candidate wants to be aligned to company culture and values.

5. What are the challenges of this position?

No job is without challenges. It would be a big warning flag to the candidate to say otherwise. The candidate is asking for an injection of realism that, in all likelihood, will be beneficial for your company. They are already thinking about how they can address the challenge if hired and this is a good sign.

6. What have past employees done to succeed at this role?

This question should be interpreted as how the candidate wants to add value to your company. If an employee wants to know how to succeed in a role, he/she is likely to receive recognition. If the candidate receives recognition, he/she is going to be engaged. It’s a win-win. (Of course this scenario assumes candidates are extrinsically motivated. It is important to note that intrinsic motivations, such as a sense of responsibility and achievement, are equally, if not more, important to foster in your potential candidate as well as this creates the highest level of engagement.)

7. Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?

This question has a little bit of an edge to it but is outstanding  nonetheless. You want to hear this being asked. It ensures that you have a firm grasp of what your ideal candidate would be, the job description and how you see the ideal candidate or the candidate sitting across you performing. This may also be a chance to probe a litter deeper and, in doing so, understand the interviewee more.  The candidate is confident enough to talk about his/her weaknesses and this opportunity may open up doors for further conversation.

How do you look for engaging employees? What are some questions that you have used that have allowed you to effectively find those great people for your organization? Let us know in the comments section below!