15 questions guaranteed to help you stand out at a job interview

Sam Dewey

“So, what questions do you have for us?”

It’s an interview standard, but one many job seekers still manage to flub. We all know asking thoughtful, well-researched questions at the end of an interview can be the difference between landing a job and fumbling at the finish line, but even stellar candidates sometimes stymie their chances by responding with a well-intentioned but self-destructive, “Nope, I’m all set!”

It’s now your turn to find out if the company is a place you’d even want to work at. To make sure you nail this section of the interview, we asked around town for some of the best questions a candidate can ask.


Responses via Kayla Davis, HR & Office Manager.

"Who will I be working with?" This question is great because they are already thinking about the team they will be a part of. One of our values is teamwork, so I love when people are already curious about how they will fit in and who they will work alongside. 
"What are the 30/60/90 day expectations?" I am a big advocate for setting the right expectations up front. Knowing that is also a priority for candidates aligns really well. Being a startup, that 30/60/90 map is not always clear, and if that is the case, I like to identify that up front so we don't mismanage the expectations of potential employees. 
"What makes someone a great fit at LearnCore?" This question is great because it can allow me to speak to what the job description doesn't highlight. I am really passionate about our team, and being able to clearly identify intangible traits that make someone successful here really helps candidates figure out if LearnCore is the right place for them.  
"Tell me more about the culture." This is a more typical question, but culture has become such a critical component for candidates, so being able to talk about the day to day and what it is really like to work at LearnCore is always a great opportunity to showcase what we have to offer.  


Responses from Thu Tran (Director, Client Services), Brett Baker (Chief Technology Officer, Development) and Adam Perkins (Director, Implementation)
"What is the structure of the organization, and how will I work with different departments in this role? What is the structure of the specific team I am interviewing for?" I feel like this means they are really interested in the position and want to get an understanding of the organization’s hierarchy. This also means they are thinking about how other teams work with each other and what their role will be. It shows they have a “team” mentality.
"What characteristics do the people who have really succeeded at bswift have?" I’d say about 10 to 20 percent of candidates ask some form of this question. I don’t know if I’d characterize it as a killer question, but it’s probably my favorite. To me it indicates that the candidate is focused on the most important thing: do they fit the mold of someone who is likely to succeed at the company.
As an FYI, my answer is that the most successful people have three characteristics: 1) they’re smart, 2) they take a lot of pride in what they do and 3) they are therefore typically harder on themselves than others would be.
“How will my success be measured? From what you have learned, do you have any concerns about me being successful at bswift?” If a candidate demonstrates knowledge of bswift and is able to articulate their relevant qualifications, I think it is appropriate for them to ask some tough questions. Though, I don’t like this question unless the interview went really well. 
“What are the biggest challenges bswift faces in the next one to two years, and how would someone in my position help?” I like this question because it implies the candidate wants to be challenged and accountable for results.


Responses from Heather Redisch, Vice President, Talent Acquisition.

"What new skills can I hope to learn here?" By asking this question, the candidate shows their desire to continue learning and advancing professionally. Whether it’s a new coding language or marketing strategy, they’re eager to expand their skillset and humble enough to admit there’s still room to grow.
"Where do you feel the company is going to evolve in the next few years?" This shows the candidate has a genuine interest in the company's success and is looking to stay long-term. In startups and high-growth organizations, just a few years can make a big difference, and it's important that candidates realize that.
"How can the person in this position succeed while working both independently and while collaborating with others?" Whether the candidate is an individual contributor or a team lead, they will need to be able to work well on their own, as well as with the rest of the team. This question shows the candidate understands the importance of both work styles and can adapt to what is required of the role.
“What is one major goal your company has, and how can I help you reach it?” One of our core values at Yello is “Nothing is impossible.” If a candidate asks about a major goal we have yet to reach and what role they can play in helping us bring it to fruition, it shows they’re aligned with our mission and ready to tackle new challenges.


Responses via Jackie Kaweck, SVP, People.

“Once a business goal is identified, how do tech, product, and design teams work together towards a solution?” This question shows us the candidate not only values collaboration, but is also interested in how their role impacts the greater success of the organization.
“What types of growth opportunities are available, and will I have a chance to tackle increasingly difficult projects?” Candidates who display intrinsic drive or curiosity in and out of the work place will not only fit in with our culture, but have the foundation to thrive at Vivid Seats. As a scaling company we have numerous avenues and opportunities for professional and personal growth.
“How do you balance efficacy and quality when scaling at such fast pace?” Our teams look to hire motivated problem solvers. A larger, more intelligent organization provides us with the resources to research and deploy industry leading technology and innovations. Candidates who ask this question realize that scaling fosters its own set of challenges in addition to the challenges of the ticket market. We are after candidates who are ready to tackle both.

Images via featured companies. 

Do you have news to share? Shoot us an email or follow us on Twitter @BuiltInChicago.

Post a comment

or to post comments

Oh no!

You're fresh out of job post slots.

Upgrade your planmanage current jobs

Create an account

Let startups find you

Create a profile and upload your resume today.

Explore the local startup scene, find your
dream job and hang with fellow techies.

No sales pitches, just awesome original content.

Oh no!

You're fresh out of job post slots.