3 key questions candidates ask - what they mean & how to answer them

It is towards the end of the hiring process that the two-way parity of interviews unfolds itself. As recruiters relax with satisfaction that the candidate can actually fill the position they advertised for, and that they have extracted the answers they need, they ask the all-important question, "Do you have any questions?"

Beyond the part that the questions they ask can further expand on the emotional maturity of the candidate, recruiters and hiring managers need to be aware that this is the stage where good candidates are seriously evaluating the job, the boss and the company.

Here are top 3 questions that candidates ask, what they actually mean and how to answer them.

Question 1: What will success look like in my role

What it means: I went through the JD, but can you help me understand my job a little more in detail?

Translating business requirement into a compelling JD that clearly highlights key responsibilities and outcomes is a challenge in most organisations and candidates want this answered to see if they align well with the role.

How to answer: If you are hiring for skills, the emphasis of answering this question should be on the technical aspect of the job, however, if you are hiring for traits, candidates would like to understand the challenges they can expect.

Experienced candidates know what success means in their current role and would like to know if success is measured differently in the new environment. An honest and practical answer can help them plan their schedule of integrating themselves into the organisation and start contributing as required of them.

In answering this question, the recruiter or the hiring manager needs to be candid about what drives results in the organisation, and specifically in the team and the job. It is also the job of the recruiter to ensure that the candidate feels comfortable and excited about the opportunity at the same time.

Question 2: What is the career progression graph in the organisation?

What it means: If you are a strong employer brand, this is straightforward - candidates want to know the growth opportunities. Reinforcing the perception of the brand goes a long way in convincing the candidate.

For emerging organisations and organisations that are still working on their employer brand, however, this question is a potential make or break question.

How to answer: If you are an emerging player in the employer branding space, it’s essential that you talk about the organisation and differentiate your brand from others. Take this opportunity to discuss your company culture and what makes your organisation a great place.

Question 3: What is the management style?

What it means: The right fit happiness extends beyond just working for a company to working with teams and managers. Happy employees look to liking what they do, and liking the people they work with and the candidates what to know more about their hiring manager and if they would fit in the team.

How to answer: This is a tough question to answer, as there are diverse convictions about management styles. The answer cannot be too generic or too specific – and the hiring manager needs to understand that the answer must fill the reasonable need of the candidate to fit into the company (and team) culture.

The right way to tackle this question is to detail truthfully what the actual picture is regarding behaviours that are expected and valued in the team members and how employees are motivated to perform better. To what extent employees are empowered to show initiative is also a good input to give. If the organisation culture so permits, getting a couple of members (from the team the candidate is expected to join) to talk may be a good idea.

There could be many more questions too. Treat them as a candidate’s expression of wanting to know what the organisation stands for and how they can fit into its current and future plans. The person answering the questions will also have to be keenly aware that in his or her tone, body language, content and context of responses, the candidates will see the mirror image of the organisation.

learn the secrets of employer branding - download the report

< return to previous page