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“Do You Have Any Questions for Us?”

After asking questions of your applicant, it’s typical to end an interview by asking if they have any questions for you. Generally, it’s a good sign when they have some prepared as it can show they are serious about the position and have done their homework about the organization or role. It can also provide insight into what is important to your candidate and what they may be weighing or thinking about the position. We wanted to explore a few questions you might anticipate, and how to assess and respond to them.

Question 1: How would you describe your management style?

The management relationship is critical and this question demonstrates a candidate’s desire to learn more about you and what it might be like to work together. In answering, push yourself to think beyond what you think about yourself to what feedback or insights you may have received from colleagues about what it’s like to work with you. Focus on your strengths as well as one or two things that you’re working on. Modeling self-reflection can be a great way to encourage others to do the same and show that’s something you value as a manager.

Question 2: What do you like most and least about working here?

Think about what might be most relevant to the candidate. For example, you might say something like, “I know you mentioned enjoying collaborative work. One of the things I’ve valued about working here is the team atmosphere and the way we all pitch in and work together when we’re putting together a big event.” In answering the second part of this question, be mindful that you’re still trying to make a hire; it may not be the time to dig into your issues with staff fridge cleanliness. However, there can be a way to share real issues to demonstrate a level of self-awareness, and couple that with a relevant/solid reason for wanting to see ‘x’ improvement. An example of this may be something like, “I like the people I work with and dedication to the mission we share, but I would like our staff to more closely reflect the population we serve,” which can show an awareness and willingness to improve as an individual and organization.

Question 3: What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for your organization in the next five years?

This might sound more like a question from your board during an annual review, but it’s one applicants will have a keen interest in if they are seeking things like security or the opportunity to grow. While daunting, this question also tees you up to sing the praises of your work and what you’re most excited about in the years to come. It may also be a great place to discuss how the role they are interviewing for fits into that. For example, you might talk about being behind the curve with using Instagram and Facebook ads to help with recruitment, and explain that’s why you’re excited to bring on someone with social media experience to help take the team to the next level.

Question 4: How will I be trained / onboarded for this role?

Some might misperceive this question as one that suggests the candidate may not be equipped to hit the ground running. In fact, this question shows a dedication to doing good work and desire to be set up for success. It’s an opportunity for you to speak about what you envision for the first couple of weeks in this role. Based on what you heard in their earlier responses, it may also be a time to share where you think training might be focused given their strengths and needed development.

Fielding questions can keep you on your toes but is a great way to engage with your interviewee. It also breaks up the one-sided nature of an interview. Had an applicant question that totally floored you? Share it with us at idealistorgs@idealist.org, and we may feature it in a future edition of the newsletter.

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