The 5 Questions that Will Impress Any Hiring Manager

questions “Do you have any questions for me?”

After successfully answering all the hiring manager’s questions about your past experiences and interest in the role, you’re finally asked if you have any questions for the hiring manager.

At this point you can either say, “No, I think you’ve covered everything” or you can ask strategic questions that sell your strengths and position you as a top candidate. With my expertise, guidance and career coaching, I ensure my clients do the latter.

Through my mock interviews, I have helped many job seekers craft questions that have differentiated them from other candidates. Below are some questions commonly asked during the interview process that I finessed to help my clients differentiate themselves from others. It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that even while asking questions you are still trying to sell yourself—the onus of the sales process has not yet been lifted…so don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet not even during this Q&A portion.

1. Original: How does this position contribute to your departmental goals?

Tweak: My understanding of this position is that it ties to your departmental goals in this way [insert specific ways based on your prior networking and research as well as the job description]. In what ways can the person elected to assume this role accelerate her impact?

Note: This question shows that you’re mindful of how the role and its strategic vision support the department’s overarching goal. It also determines if there are any low hanging fruit that can be addressed to help speed up anything on the hiring manager’s behalf.   

2. Original: Knowing your departmental goals and where you want to focus for the next several months, what qualities should the ideal candidate possess that will help you achieve these goals?

Tweak: In prior roles where I have been asked to do similar things such as [insert an example that ties directly to your desired role] and [insert another example that does the same], I have leaned on my ability to do [insert a desired skill]. What are other skills that you’ve seen the most successful hires possess?

Note: You are essentially asking what you can do to help make the hiring manager’s job easier. This question gets to the heart of what the interviewer needs and provides you with the opportunity to further show you have the qualities of the ideal candidate.  

3. Original: Your team has accomplished a lot over the last several months. Which accomplishments have been the most important to you and why?

Tweak: No major tweaks. I would suggest listening closely to what the interviewer brings up during the conversation for project highlights and incorporating them into the set-up portion of this question rather than making this generic (e.g. “accomplished a lot”).

Note: This is your chance to demonstrate your listening skills. It’s also the opportunity to get a sense of the hiring manager’s priorities and why they were elevated to the top.

4. Original: How will my performance be measured?

Tweak: In prior roles, I have measured the performance of my direct reports or third party vendors in this way OR my performance has been measured in this way (e.g. overall team contribution to a specific goal and my contribution to these goals). How do you measure impact? As someone who prioritizes assignments based on goals, what are the biggest goals that you’d want me to own given your overarching needs?

Note: It’s important to determine how your impact will be measured because it will help you negotiate your salary later on (the more aggressive the goals, the higher your salary should be). This question also communicates to the hiring manager that you know your work will be judged, therefore you want to establish agreed upon goals.

5. Original: What are the opportunities for professional development?

Tweak: Throughout my career, I have opted to participate in various professional development opportunities including X and Y (side note: make sure X and Y further your candidacy or are relevant to the job at hand). It’s always been critical when selecting these trainings that I could immediately use them on the job. What training opportunities aside from hands-on experience have you or your team experienced that you’d recommend to any new hire? Alternatively, I am also a self-directed learner; are there any courses that you’ve seen outside of the company that have been particularly useful?

Note: This question will clarify the options available to you while communicating your interest in developing within the company. It also shows the hiring manager that you’re continuously thinking about ways to improve your work.

Ultimately, the goal is to stand out from the crowd by showing the hiring manager your strategic thinking, keen interest in helping the team reach its goals and openness to improving and developing your professional self. Learn other ways to differentiate yourself in the job hunt by subscribing to my blog.

*If you are a seasoned executive who is interested in learning more about how I can help you become the strongest job candidate and you’d like to gauge whether we are a good fit then simply schedule a 15-minute introductory consultation via this scheduling tool.

As a bonus, during that 15-minute session, I will give you a tangible next step to take related to your search. The guidance will be easy to implement within 24 hours after our consultation or your money back guaranteed.

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.


  1. Sandra Jewell on October 1, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Greetings, I interview for a position of Senior Chaplain which I did not get. They promoted someone already on staff I get that. However, (to my credit) I have been asked to apply for a newly posted
    Chaplain position at the same agency.

    I consider this a second interview once called for an interview
    ? Is that correct

    I don’t get nervous in interviews. I do them very well. I do like the twist you put on the questions I can ask will use two of them. \\

    Thanks for the article

    • Melissa on October 6, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      Sandra – Think about every interaction with a prospective employer as an interview and although this is a first interview for a position…remind the new interviewers about the value you bring…

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