Hiring is hard. Finding a great employee for your business can sometimes feel like sifting for gold. And for candidates, dealing with recruiters and interviews across different companies can feel like a thankless task.

Hiring managers work hard to screen candidates during the recruitment process. But applicants are conducting their own selection process too. The top talent will ask you questions to work out if they’re a good fit for your company.

Everybody wants to make a good impression during recruitment. Honesty and transparency are essential. That’s because these traits stop employers and employees from experiencing ‘recruitment remorse’ if the business realizes it’s made a bad hire later on.

Here are the questions hiring managers should be ready to answer in a competitive hiring market.

1. Why your role is vacant

Savvy candidates will ask hiring managers about this. The role might have become vacant because of termination, a resignation, or a business unit expansion. Be ready to explain this to candidates and interviewees because they’ll use your answer to read between the lines. If the past role holder resigned after a short tenure, the candidate might see that as a red flag. And if the role has been created because of a new client win or business expansion, that can indicate a growing company.

2. Your ideal candidate

Think about your dream candidate. Highlight any soft and hard skills you want. Understanding your idea of the perfect candidate can also help the applicant obtain a peek into the company’s work culture. They can evaluate themselves against the job description and bring attention to prior experiences or skillsets that gel with your culture.

3. The role’s challenges

Yes, you want to paint your company in a good light. But you also need to avoid making a bad hire, by glossing over real issues in the business or role. Be honest. Will the position have budget constraints? Tough stakeholders? A big change management project? Let people know what they’re in for — you’re more likely to get a good fit when you do.

4. What success looks like

People can’t succeed if they don’t know what the goals are. You might be hiring for a sales role that has clearly defined key performance indicators. Or, you could be looking for a new employee that will achieve more intangible goals for the business, like boosting brand awareness or increasing your reputation with important stakeholders.

5. Remote and flexible work

Remote work has boomed since the pandemic began. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Be prepared to tell candidates how your business will cater for remote work, office work, and hybrid work. Candidates that ask these questions may be hoping you will transition back to the office — or keep remote work forever — so be honest from the get-go.

6. Your employee benefits

Good benefits are attractive. They can make or break your ideal candidate’s willingness to accept your job offer. Some potential employees may even accept lower salaries if medical or dental insurance benefits offer wide coverage. Whether your company offers other popular benefits such as mental health packages, daycare, or 401(k) contribution matching, be prepared to explain it well and direct prospective employees to further resources.

7. Your workplace culture

And then there is your culture. How do your employees feel while working for you, and what are you doing to create a positive culture in the business? This can be top concern for millennial candidates, who want more from their jobs than earlier generations. Think about how people collaborate at work, morale among your teams, and if your teams have a good rapport. You’ll need to answer questions about your culture, but you’ll also need to show people what the business is like in every single interaction they have with you.

8. Typical workdays

Yes, big picture thinking matters. But some roles also have responsibilities that lead to similar tasks day in day out. Be ready to paint a picture of the average workday for candidates and interviewees. Explain regular events like work-in-progress meetings, huddles, or all-staff roundtables, so people can get a sense of the ebb and flow of working with you.

9. Managers and colleagues

Management shapes workplace culture. Junior employees will want to know who their manager will be. It’s best if they meet them during the interview. Similarly, if you’re hiring a supervisor or manager, be sure to tell them about the makeup of their potential future team. Will they be managing a small, tightly knit group? Or will they have scores of employees under their responsibility? This information should be laid out in the job description. Expect candidates to ask questions about this to get a sense of their responsibilities.

10. Career growth

The best candidates are lifelong learners. They’re hungry for new skills, expertise, and knowledge. So be prepared to explain any training you can provide. Be ready to give a quick overview of any career development budget available to individual employees. And be sure to explain any appealing benefits like university education or international secondments.

11. Pandemic policies

It’s almost certain your company’s approach to the pandemic will come up at some point too. People want to be reassured employers can keep workplaces as COVID-safe as possible. As a hiring manager, be ready to explain your safeguards and policies around common issues like vaccinations, testing, social distancing, and workplace hygiene.

The next steps for hiring managers and candidates

Recruitment has changed so much in the past few years, that you could be forgiven for overlooking some of the basics. Remember, every candidate will want to know what happens in each step of the recruitment process. Tell people if it will take days, weeks, or months to make your choice. And make sure to let every interviewee know why they did or didn’t get a job offer. It will make your business stand out from many other companies that are hiring.