You might be thinking: “I have to ask questions? I thought I was supposed to ANSWER questions at an interview.” You do have to ask questions if you want the job. But which questions?
While there are many questions you want to ask, there are two questions you must ask at every interview, every single time:
- “What are you looking for?” or “What does your ideal employee look like?” is the first question you must ask, and you want to ask it as early in the interview as you can manage. The answer to this question will help you orient your presentation of skills, abilities and experience towards their specific needs. That’s how you can be super-effective with your time. Rather than talk about your technical abilities to a hiring manager who is looking for a ‘people person’ you will be able to rank your social, customer service skills slightly above your technical skills and have a better interview.
- The second ‘must ask’ question comes at the end of your interview. Before you leave, you must find out if the hiring manager sees any reason they would not hire you. Or, to put a more positive spin on the question, you will ask something like: “Can you see me as being successful in this role?” This question is asking, or closing, for the job. The answer you get will allow you to address any shortcomings or concerns the interviewer has about your abilities to do the job. Very often, it’s something simple that’s easy to clear up. It’s hard to ask, but it’s important.
Besides the two ‘must ask’ questions here is a list of other questions that will help you stand out and improve your chance of getting the job offer:
- Ask about the future of the company; this shows your long-term interest in working for them and gives you clues about your own future
- Ask why the position is open
- Ask how they determine if an employee is ‘successful’
- Ask what a typical day looks like for a person in this position
- Ask what are the biggest challenges this position presents
- Ask what characterizes a successful employee so you can explain how you embody those characteristics
All-in-all the questions you ask in an interview are just as important as the answers you give. It’s necessary to remember that having both the right questions and the right answers will help you stand out from the rest and get you the right job.
Be ready for every interview with your research, questions, and answers when you check out this Ultimate Guide to Job Interview Prep.
This article was written by Career Coach Peggy McKee of Career Confidential.