Interview Preparation: How to answer your candidate’s questions

By Adam Robinson,
August 29, 2013

When a candidate asks questions at the end of an interview, it’s usually a good sign that they are genuinely interested in the position. But when we stumble across our answers and make something up on the spot, it tends to be a poor reflection on ourselves and the company. Of course this is understandable – would you want to work for someone who can’t think of what makes their company unique or why they love their job? No? Didn’t think so.

That’s why it’s important to think about your answers to potential candidate questions before the interview. We’re not saying to spend an hour writing down your answers, but thinking about the questions a candidate may ask is a key part of interview preparation. This way, if (and when) they ask “What is your favorite part about working for Company X,” you’ll have a concrete answer. 

The thing is though, some questions are trickier than others. You want to be honest, but you also want to sell the candidate on the position and company. So what are you supposed to do when a candidate asks, “What don’t you like about working for Company X?” Do you lie and say nothing? Or do you give the candidate an honest answer and say, “The office politics tend to get in the way and affect how we go about completing projects”?

Unfortunately, there’s not one right way to answer such questions. But that’s exactly why you should take some time before the interview to think of answers to possible questions. You’ll be more likely to answer honestly, but in a refined manner. So rather than saying the first thing that comes to mind then fumbling to say what you really meant, your answer would be clear and concise. 

If you don’t know where to start, the following questions are commonly asked by job seekers. So think about your answers to these, and you’ll be well on your way to answering any of your candidate’s questions:

“What is the company culture like?”

“How long have you been seeking to fill this position?”

“How does the company support and promote personal and professional growth?”

“What is Company X’s plan for the next five years, and how does this department and role fit into that?”

Try using an interview scorecard to help simplify your hiring process. 

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.