5 creative questions you should ask in an interview
Posing boilerplate questions won’t make you stand out from other job candidates.
To ace a job interview, you don’t just have to answer questions well—you also have to ask them. But posing boilerplate questions won’t make you stand out from other job candidates, and it won’t help you sniff out whether an employer would be a good fit, either. By spending some time thinking of creative questions to ask in an interview, you'll be doing yourself two favors. One, it'll show the employer that you went the extra mile and that you actually care about getting this job. Two, these kinds of questions can uncover some valuable information that might not have come up otherwise.
Pay attention—what you learn could very well mean the difference between you sticking around or heading for the exit.
Creative questions to ask in an interview
1. What kind of personality would do well on this team and what kind would not?
Hiring managers often choose the candidate who not only meets the job requirements, but also demonstrates the best cultural fit for their organization. Culture is also important for job seekers: A Monster poll found that 95% of American workers believe overall fit is important when it comes to their happiness at work.
But this particular question allows you to dig deeper than simply asking a hiring manager to describe their company’s culture, says Biron Clark, a former executive recruiter and the founder of CareerSidekick.com, a job search advice website.
“It shows the employer that you’re being selective and careful in your job search, and that you’re not desperate to take any job that you can get,” he says. “That’s a powerful signal that you can send to employers.”
2. What advice would you give the person who fills this role?
“This question shows a hiring manager that you’re eager to succeed,” Clark says. “It also shows that you’re taking initiative to learn what it takes to perform the job well, which projects confidence.”
Remember the hiring manager’s answer. “The person’s advice here can come in handy later if you take the job,” says Clark.
3. Can you explain how your company’s core values translate into the day-to-day experience of working at the organization?
Employers like job candidates who show that they’re eager to learn more about their company, Clark says. This question enables you to demonstrate your interest, while also offering you a window into the company’s daily operations.
4. What do you wish you knew more about the company before starting here?
One common question job seekers ask hiring managers is, “Why did you accept a job at this company?” As a result, that question has lost some of its value, since a lot of hiring managers already have a canned answer prepared.
Framing the question this way, though, makes it more nuanced, Clark says, which can provide you with unique insight into the hiring manager’s background and the company’s inner workings.
5. What has the company done to help you further your own professional development?
Staying relevant in your field throughout your career is a must, Clark says, which is why you need to commit to your professional development. And, one of the best ways to gain new skills is through employer-sponsored training.
Clark suggests also asking hiring managers follow-ups questions, such as, “Does the company offer tuition reimbursement or anything to encourage continuing education?”
“You really want to work for an employer that prioritizes your skills development,” Clark says.
Other ways to stand out
Asking creative questions in an interview can help position you as a strong job candidate, but it’s not the only way to shine. Need some more help preparing for your next job interview? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you'll get interview insights, job search tips, and career advice sent directly to your inbox. From answering the tough questions to negotiating a job offer to how to make an impact from day one, Monster can give you the guidance you need to shine.