If you think an interview is a one-way street then you are sadly mistaken and this perception could be one of the reasons why you are not getting the jobs you want. A mistake made all too often is not asking questions at a job interview. Typically an interviewer will ask you at the end of the job interview if you have any questions. If you respond with a “no”, you look unprepared and ill equipped for the job. If you say yes, and ask questions that are important you’ll likely impress your potential employer and embed positive memories with them regarding your commitment, interest, and thoughtfulness.
If you don’t come to an interview with prepared questions, you might as well not wear a suit and forget your resume. In other words it’s a definite must. Below you’ll find some “starter” questions to get you on track with what to ask at your next interview.
1. What do you value in a successful candidate?
This question comes with the reward of heaps of useful information about what your potential future employer values in his/her employees. Listen to the answer to this question carefully and be prepared to respond with how you fit into their description of that successful candidate. If they value writing skills, for example, make sure to mention any experience you have with publishing your own work, such as blogs. If management skills are highly valued, don’t forget to mention the people you have managed or mentored in your past.
2. How can I quickly become a strong addition to the employer’s team?
Remember to ask this question so you can quickly gauge the goals that may need to be reached and what you will need to be working towards immediately. If you have direction as soon as you join the company, you will impress your new managers and co-workers by coming out of the gate swinging. This also leaves the impression of being a “go-getter” and of someone being ready to do what it takes to make progress at the company.
3. Do you have any apprehension about my potential for success in this position and/or organization?
This is simply a way of reducing time wasting, or a good way of asking if you fit the position being discussed. This will give you some valuable insights into what the person interviewing you thinks of your qualifications and how he rates you. This also gives you a great opportunity to address any concerns immediately and potentially relieve any concerns that a prospective employer may have of you that otherwise would not have been brought to light. Just remember that sometimes your qualifications are simply not adequate enough and nothing can be done in the timeframe of one meeting. Regardless, use this information to improve your chances at future interviews.
4. What are the companies goals in the new future and how does this position help achieve those goals?
This question is used to get a clear picture of where the company stands, where it sees itself going and how you can help be a positive influence in its future. This is also a good chance to segue into discussing any research you might have done pertaining to the company prior to the interview. This question also gives off the impression of someone who is knowledgeable, interested in the company and can help you envision what challenges and opportunities may await you at your would-be job.
5. What is/are the next step(s)?
This is a self-explanatory question that should be asked at every interview, whether it is a McDonalds cook or a CEO position at an international corporation. It is crucial. Ask the interviewer what stage the hiring process is in for this position and what the next steps will be. Make sure to ask when and how you should contact the company again. This will give you a better idea of when (replace with “The Best Timing” vs good timing) the best timing can be found to once again, leave a positive impression on the interviewer and help you secure the job you’ve always wanted.
Asking the right questions can be the difference between securing or being turned down for the job you’ve always wanted. While not being a complete game changer, this can be the edge you need to make you superior to your competition. From this, further questions can be derived to fit your method of approaching interviews. Either way, it is certainly in your best interest to take this into account.