Questions to Ask at an Interview That Will Improve Your Answers On the Spot

Ask questions of your own in the interview

To get the job you want you need to do more than sit in the interview answering questions fired at you by the hiring manager. In order to be more effective in selling yourself for the job, don’t be afraid to ask questions yourself.

Why?  Because the job search is a sales process in which you are the product and that hiring manager is the buyer.  And you’ll never make a sale without understanding the wants and needs of your customer.  And you can’t understand unless you ask.

There are certain key questions to ask in an interview that can give you a big edge and present you as the most thoughtful, strategic- thinking candidate.  Your choice of questions can mean the difference between being one unmemorable face is a line of hundreds of job seekers, to providing you those golden nuggets of information you can use to present the hiring manager with the information she’s most interested in hearing.

Knowing the right questions to ask in an interview can give you big clues as to what the hiring manager is hoping you’ll say so she can hire you.

Near the beginning of the interview, ask: What are you looking for in a candidate? What does your ideal candidate look like? The answer to this question will help you find out what the hiring manager really cares about hearing. Then you can sell to those specific points.  Everything they list, you bring up something from your background that illustrates your skill with it or otherwise corresponds with it and answers that need.

Here’s a secret: There’s one crucial question that could increase your chances of getting the job by 30 percent. Near the end of the interview ask: Can you see me being very successful in this role? Is there any reason why you wouldn’t offer me this job?  This is called closing for the job.

Asking this type of ‘closing’ question takes nerves of steel, but the payoff can be huge. This is your only way to find out if there’s any doubt about hiring you. And if there is, you can clear up that doubt right away.  If you leave while they still have doubts, you can kiss that job goodbye.

Here are a few other questions to ask in an interview and the reasons why they’re so great.

  • Can you describe a typical day for someone in this position? This can help you understand what would be expected of you, and it can also help you tailor the information you provide to best show you’re the person for the job.
  • Looking ahead to the next couple of years, what are the potential growth areas that people in the company are most excited about? This can let you known if there’s room for growth, if the company is stable and if there’s the possibility for advancement. If there’s room for growth and advancement, you can present your skills in such a way that you’ll show the hiring manager you’re there for the long term and be a great asset to the company .
  • If you were to narrow the field to two final candidates, with equal skills and experience, how would you choose one over the other? The truth might be that the one with the lower salary might be chosen. And the hiring manager may not tell you this. But you could still find something worth knowing.

The bottom line (literally) is:  Asking questions helps you uncover information you need to know in order to sell yourself for the job.

Guest post from Career Coach Peggy McKee of Career Confidential

About the author, Chief Executive Restaurant Recruiter

Born in Arkansas, moved to FL for 3 years as a youngster. Lived in GA most of my life. Married in 1985, 2 kids, one of each. Graduate of USNA Class of 1980. Love golf, computers, poker, photography, and gadgets.

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