Career experts share surprising questions that might help you as a job candidate

Whether you’re interviewing for a new job or interviewing for a different role in your existing company, your job interview is a chance to set yourself apart from your competition — which are any other job applicants.

To be more memorable, make sure to dress professionally, speak clearly, be articulate and know your job qualifications and work history so that you can answer questions as they roll, experts advise.

In addition, a successful interview is one in which you ask questions — just as your interviewer will be asking questions of you.  

Career and job experts shared five compelling interview questions that are worth asking at the conclusion of your interview so that you stand out.

These will help you come across as very interested in the position and the company — and can create a lasting impression, which could then lead to a lucrative job offer. 

Pick one or two of these questions to end your interview on a high note.

‘What worked or didn’t work previously by others in this role?’  

Asking about prior employment in this role is a way to demonstrate that your objective is to succeed in the position if hired. 

"Indicating that you’re someone who is willing to learn from and improve upon the work done by a predecessor is a smart move when interviewing for a job," said Michelle Labbe, chief people officer with Toptal, who is based in Bonita Springs, Fla.

"Every hiring manager likes employees who are looking to learn and grow with the team or company."

When you ask an interview question like this one, it spurs further discussions, said Labbe. 

This question, she said, allows a candidate to highlight why he or she is the best person for the job — especially if the candidate felt as though the interview didn't cover everything they hoped it would.

‘What skills would the person in this role need to develop over time?’

When you pose this question, the interviewer may appreciate your long-term vision and desire to be part of the company. 

“Every hiring manager likes employees who are looking to learn and grow with the team or company," said Diane Gildea, founder and executive career consultant with Maximum Wage in Austin, Texas. 

Interviewers may appreciate your long-term vision and desire to be part of the company. 

"This sets you on the right development path as soon as you begin the role," she added.

It may even move "you into a promotion sooner."

‘What motivates you to stay on the team at your company?’

This question allows interviewers to share more about their own role and the company, what they like about working there — and a bit about company culture. 

"Understanding why the person you’re speaking with is an engaged member of the team can go a long way toward seeing what may excite you about the new opportunity," explained Corey Berkey, SVP, people and talent with Employ Inc. in Waltham, Massachusetts. 

"You don’t want to join an organization without understanding what the current performance level is," said one career expert. 

Additionally, Berkey said this is a useful question to ask of multiple interview team members — not just the first person you speak with or the hiring manager. 

"You can get a census of what sentiment is across the organization," he added.

‘How has the organization been performing against plans this year?’

This thought-provoking question is important, said Berkey, as you should understand if the company is setting and achieving goals. 

"If you’re going to be in a role where you’re responsible for hitting a quota or an individual goal to drive compensation, understand how many of your would-be colleagues are currently performing successfully against those goals," he added. 

"You don’t want to join an organization without understanding what the current performance level is. This is key to making sure you’re setting yourself up for success in the future."

‘Do you have any concerns about recommending me to move into the next round of discussion for this position?’

Some applicants may be wary about asking this question because they’re afraid of the answer, or being lied to, said Berkey. 

"Some hiring team members hate being asked this question because it makes someone squirm a little bit and can be tricky to answer," he said. 

"Ultimately, this should be the last thing you ask as a candidate because it’s a nice closure point."

Also, it's your last chance to leave an impression that is memorable, he said.

"Ask the question — then listen to the feedback," Berkey said.

Also, understand that this is not an opportunity to argue. 

"You’ve got to be able to handle the critical feedback and then reply," he added. "Your reply should highlight facts and experiences that help reduce the interviewer’s concern and should be professional."

You also need to be prepared to hear things that you are not able to overcome, such as missing a key experience or job skill, Berkey advised. 

"Think quickly and refocus the conversation onto compelling traits that you do bring to the table that should outweigh the lack of that experience or skill," he added. 

"Bottom line: You can make, or break, your chance at the role by handling this question well."