Asking a potential employer some unique questions during an interview can be quite beneficial. Not only does it leave a great impression, but it also provides useful information that will help you make a decision about the job you’re considering!
This list of unique and creative interview questions to ask an interviewer will make this easy.
Note: Make sure the person you are questioning has the right level of responsibility/authority to answer the question.
1. Why do you think I should accept this position?
This unique interview question to ask an employer turns things around and encourages the interviewer to highlight the job’s best selling points. You’ve spent most of the hiring process convincing the hiring manager why you’re a good fit. Now it’s their turn!
Be cautious with this one, and be mindful of the tone of your voice. It can easily come off the wrong way. To avoid mixed messages, reiterate your interest in the position and keep things positive.
2. How quickly is the company growing?
It’s always a good idea to know how a company is doing before accepting a job. The last thing you want is to take a position at a failing company.
This is a great question to ask an employer because it provides more insight while supporting the research you’ve already done.
More importantly, it shows that you’re a “big picture” person. Companies want to hire people they know will stick around longer than a year. Showing interest in the organization’s growth potential indicates that you’re in it for the long haul.
3. Of all the projects/challenges the new hire for this position will be responsible for, which one is the highest priority?
Here’s a unique question that opens a window for further discussion. Asking what the priority is will highlight potential points of frustration for this position. That gives you the chance to speak more about the topic and demonstrate what you plan to do to solve it.
The question also indicates that you’re willing to hit the ground running on day one. It shows that you’re eager to contribute to the bottom line.
4. Have individuals in this position struggled in the past? If so, why?
Every job has hurdles new hires need to overcome. Asking how others have failed at this job can provide valuable insight. Not only does it encourage the interviewer to talk about what it takes to succeed, but it gives you a glimpse of how to get ahead.
For example, their answer could push you to learn a skill or refamiliarize yourself with one. It prepares you for the challenges you’ll face, letting you get a leg up and navigate those hurdles head-on.
5. How are conflicts handled at this company?
Conflicts are bound to happen in the workplace. Whether it’s a challenge completing a project or internal conflicts among team members, you need to learn how to navigate those situations.
This question gives you a glimpse of how the organization handles challenging situations. It can also show you how your future boss deals with bumps in the road and what you should do when those issues arise.
6. What does this company do to look after its employees’ mental health?
Mental health is a hot-button topic these days and with good reason. Workplace burnout is a real issue, and companies are becoming more aware of how job pressures affect employees. Many are proactive about keeping teams in a good mental space.
Asking what your potential employer does to combat stress and prevent mental health issues is necessary. We think this is a killer interview question to ask an employer because it can help you decide if this job is right for you and give you valuable insight into how the organization cares for its employees.
7. Where do you think the company will be in five years?
This question is similar to many others about growth. Usually, interviewers will ask applicants about where they see themselves in five years to gauge their drive and see if the company’s goals align with personal career goals. Flipping this question around does two things.
First, it shows that you’re invested in the company’s future and plan to be around long enough if it benefits you.
Secondly, it shows you how passionate existing employees are about the organization’s prospects. If the answer is optimistic, it shows that people already working for this company believe in it and what it can do. This is also a great question you can ask at the end of an interview.
8. What sort of opportunities are there for continued training and education?
A question like this is important for a couple of different reasons. As an employee, you want to be with a company that genuinely supports employee growth and development. Many companies offer programs for continued education and training, giving you plenty of incentive to advance your career as much as possible.
This unique interview question to ask an employer also shows how dedicated you are to self-improvement. Hiring managers love to see applicants eager to expand their minds and capabilities.
9. What kind of growth opportunities are there within the company for people in this role?
While a question like this is similar to the previous one, it’s creative because it focuses more on the direct growth opportunities offered by the company. Does the organization make it easy to climb the ranks? The answer could help you decide if working there is a smart career choice.
Of course, it’s also an excellent question to show your interest in staying at the company for many years. Asking about opportunities to grow is also a way to show your dedication to success.
10. What do you do better than your competitors?
Hiring managers always look for people who think beyond the day-to-day operations. It’s about the bigger picture and how a potential applicant can support it.
This is a unique question to ask an interviewer because it highlights your interest in the business as a whole. It also shows that you’re eager to learn more about the company and how it fits into the industry at large.
It also gives hiring managers the opportunity to talk positively about the organization, which is always a plus.
11. What’s the hardest part of this role?
While uncommon, this question is practical and can help you should you get the job and start working. It’s always a good idea to know what challenges you’ll face. You can be proactive and prepare yourself to succeed from day one.
It’s great to hear from an interviewer’s standpoint because it shows that you’re realistic. So many applicants go in brimming with confidence. Asking this question shows that you’re fully aware things won’t be easy, but you’re willing to put the work in to do your best.
12. What makes a great employee at this company?
Don’t be surprised if the interviewer has to stop and think for a second. This is a very unique interview question to ask an employer because it forces hiring managers to think about the definition of success at this organization.
You can take things even further and ask them to differentiate what they consider a “good” job and what they consider a “great” job.
Once again, this question is about showing initiative and how eager you are to strive for greatness.
13. How would you describe the management style within the company?
Management styles can vary dramatically from one workplace to the next. One company might be more relaxed while others are strict and deadline-focused. There’s no right or wrong way to do things, but it can affect the environment.
How the hiring manager answers will give you a realistic look into an employee’s day-to-day life. It’ll let you know what to expect and whether it’s a work environment where you can thrive.
14. What made you accept your current position?
Asking a hiring manager or interviewer about their personal experience with the company goes a long way. It’s a creative question that flips the script and helps you gain a new perspective about what it’s like to work there.
There’s a good chance that the person you’re talking to has nothing but positive experiences. They’ll likely use that opportunity to talk the organization up, which can help you learn more about whether it’s a job worth taking.
15. What do you like most about your job?
This is a unique interview question to ask an employer because it focuses on the interviewer’s experience. It’s a personality-style question that does wonders to show engagement. The question sparks some good conversation and helps you build a nice rapport.
Furthermore, the answer helps you learn more about the organization. If the interviewer has excellent things to say, that’s usually a promising sign that the company is a good one to work for.
16. Would you mind sharing what part of my background or experience grabbed your attention?
If you want to ask a question that stands out, this one is it! Most interviewers don’t expect people to ask something like this. It’s bold, but it also opens up doors for deeper discussion.
Knowing what got you to this point in the hiring process will allow you to hone in on that topic. This killer question lets you talk about what the hiring manager loved most about your resume and gives them a chance to learn more.
17. What soft skills would make someone successful in this position?
So many applicants focus on hard skills. You see those necessary skills on the job posting, and you either have them, or you don’t. If you have the necessary hard skills to succeed in this job, you meet all the baseline qualifications.
But soft skills matter as well. Soft skills relate to how you work, and they can include everything from good communication and interpersonal skills to solid time management. Asking this question lets you highlight your capabilities while learning more about the job.
18. What is the company’s top priority for the team I would be joining?
It doesn’t matter what team or department you’re joining. Learning about the expectations and priorities of that team can help you get a leg up and start your new job with a bang. It always takes time to adjust, but understanding what you’re getting yourself into can make the transition easier and encourage you to be more productive from the jump.
This is a creative, yet practical, question also encourages the interviewer to be more honest about any challenges the team faces. The answer could sway your decision and help you determine if it’s a team you want to join.
19. What is your biggest concern about the company right now?
No company is perfect. Even the most successful ones have challenges they need to overcome.
We love this unique interview question to ask employers because it pushes the interviewer to be more honest about the reality of your work. They might highlight some of the downsides, giving you a better picture of what it’ll be like to work there.
This question also shows that you’re invested in the company and want to see what you can do to make improvements.
20. How long has this position been open?
Here’s a creative and unique question that interviewers don’t encounter very often, and it provides a ton of “unsaid” information.
Knowing how long this position has been open tells you how difficult it is and how eager the company is to fill it. That information can be helpful later if you get a job offer. For example, an organization trying to fill a vacancy for months may be more willing to negotiate on salary and benefits.
21. What’s something new you’re hoping the next hire can bring to this role?
From an interviewer’s perspective, getting this question is a delight! It’s something that can improve your odds of getting hired because it shows that you’re interested in helping out immediately and bringing something new to the table.
You don’t want to do what everyone else is doing or be on par with the previous position holder. You want to go above and beyond to make a real difference and contribute to positive change. The question can instantly set you apart from other candidates, putting you at the top of the list.
22. Can you give me an example of how I would collaborate with my manager?
Managerial styles are different from one company to the next. Even within the same organization, some roles require more interaction with managers than others. Knowing how you will communicate with your managers and work together on projects goes a long way.
It helps you know what you’re in for and prepares you for the unique work situation.
23. How have things changed since you started working for this company?
This is a killer interview question to ask employers because it makes you look good while providing valuable insight you might not get anywhere else.
To an interviewer, this question shows that you’ve done your homework. You’re clearly interested in the organization and want to learn more. The fact that you’re eager to learn from people who have been there for a while shows fantastic initiative.
Understanding the evolution of the company is great, too. You can know what to expect and plan for the future as the organization evolves further.
24. How often does this company outsource work?
Outsourcing is increasingly common among organizations of all sizes. While it might not impact you now, it may affect you in the future.
Outsourcing work isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it could give you more insight into how the company handles budgetary constraints, labor costs, and other nuanced details. If the company regularly outsources work, that could be a red flag that makes you reconsider the opportunity.
Of course, every organization is different, so you’ll need to consider the answer fully when deciding if a job there is right for you.
25. What is the biggest challenge facing the company right now?
When you ask this question, you’ll need to be careful about how you frame it. All companies have hurdles to overcome, but this question could come out the wrong way, depending on your tone and word choice.
Ultimately, the goal is to frame it as an eagerness to help out in any way you can. Once again, it’s about showing that you’re a big-picture thinker who wants to support the organization and make a difference.
26. What has been your best experience working here?
It’s always good to build a rapport with the interviewer and hiring manager. Asking a personal question like this is a great way to do that.
Everyone has a unique story about their job. This question gives them the opportunity to talk about it. It opens up conversation and keeps the interview engaging.
It may even create a memorable interview experience, making you stand out in the hiring manager’s mind when deciding who to hire.
27. Which one of your main competitors is the biggest threat and why?
Asking about the competition can be risky. However, this unique interview question to ask employers frames your curiosity in a way that benefits you.
It shows that you’ve researched the company and the industry. Not only that, but it indicates that you’re interested in tackling the threat head-on.
Understanding how the company views the competition goes a long way, too. You can use that information to frame your work if you get hired, helping you get ahead as quickly as possible.
28. What do the most successful employees at this company have in common?
Interviewers love to see applicants who want to do more than just the bare minimum. They want to hire people who show initiative and a genuine interest in going above and beyond.
With this creative question, you’re telling the interviewer that you’re thoughtful and success-driven. You want to do the best job possible and are eager to learn what the top performers at this organization do.
29. How well does the company do at living up to its values?
Many organizations talk about their core values. It’s the opening line that they use to talk about what it’s like working there and gives you a good idea of the overall work culture. But saying and doing are two different things.
Asking about how the company lives up to those values is an excellent creative question that will often catch interviewers off guard a bit. It reflects well on you because it shows interest in the company and highlights how you think outside the box.
30. Do employees meet up outside of work?
This question is unorthodox, and it doesn’t appear to have any relevance to the workplace at first thought. But in reality, the question is a roundabout way of learning more about company culture.
If people are getting together outside of work hours, the organization has a great work environment that fosters camaraderie and friendship. No one wants to work at a job where everyone hates each other! This question helps you learn a lot about the culture creatively.
31. How often do you promote employees internally?
If you’re looking to advance your career and grow with a company, this question is one that you must always ask. Few companies exclusively promote from within, but there are plenty that only do outside hires. You want to find a company with a nice balance of the two.
Organizations that promote internally show that they’re invested in employee growth and development. It’s also a great way to get some peace of mind that you have room to advance should you get the job.
There are a number of unique interview questions you can ask employers, but some will be more beneficial to you than others.
Take a look at this list and pick the ones that apply to your situation. After that, all you need to do is ask them!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.