In the quest for that “perfect” next career opportunity, many job seekers focus so hard on answering interview questions that they forget something very important: They are there to ask questions, too!
Asking the right questions at an interview is important for two reasons. First, when done correctly, the questions you ask confirm your qualifications as a candidate for the position. Second, you are interviewing the employer just as much as the employer is interviewing you. This is your opportunity to find out if this is an organization where you want to work.
Many hiring mangers say they gauge the strength of a candidate by the type of questions they ask.
When you ask the right questions, you want to achieve three things: (1) Make sure the interviewer has no reservations about you; (2) Demonstrate your interest in working with the employer; and (3) Find out if the employer is the right fit for you – corporate culture for instance.
There is an infinite number of questions you could ask during a job interview, but if you stay focused on those three goals, the questions should come easy to you.
1. What skills and experiences would make an ideal candidate? This is a great open-ended question that will have the interviewer put his or her cards on the table and state exactly what the employer is looking for. If the interviewer mentions something you didn’t cover yet, now is your chance.
2. What is the single largest problem facing your staff and would I be in a position to help you solve this problem? This question not only shows that you are immediately thinking about how you can help the team, it also encourages the interviewer to envision you working at the position.
3. What have you enjoyed most about working here? This question allows the interviewer to connect with you on a more personal level, sharing his or her feelings. The answer will also give you unique insight into how happy people are with their jobs there. If the interviewer is struggling to come up with an answer to your question, it’s a big red flag.
4. What constitutes success at this position and this company? This question shows your interest in being successful there, and the answer will show you both how to get ahead and whether it is a good fit for you.
5. Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications? This is a bold question that will show how confident you are in your skills and abilities. Consider it a soft-close to test the waters as to whether the employer is ready to buy. Look for buying signals!
6. Do you offer continuing education and professional training? This is a great positioning question, showing that you are interested in expanding your knowledge and ultimately growing with the employer.
7. Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with? Notice how the question is phrased; it assumes you will get the job. This question also tells you about the people you will interact with on a daily basis, so listen to the answer closely.
8. What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth? This question should be customized for your particular needs. Do your homework on the employer’s site beforehand and mention a new product or service they’re launching to demonstrate your research and interest. The answer to the question will give you a good idea of where the employer is headed.
9. Who previously held this position? This seemingly straightforward question will tell you whether that person was promoted or fired or if he/she quit or retired. That, in turn, will provide a clue to whether: there’s a chance for advancement, employees are unhappy, the place is in turmoil, or the employer has workers around your age.
10. What is the next step in the process? This is the essential last question and one you should definitely ask. It shows that you’re interested in moving along in the process and invites the interviewer to tell you how many people are in the running for the position.
Source: Joe Konop – Next Avenue Contributor, article published on Forbes.com
This is a follow-up blog to a previous blog entitled “10 Common Interview Questions Answered” to be prepared for.
Dan Counts, Founder of Fairwinds Recruiting (Twitter @FairwindsRcrtg) is a recruiter/coach for candidates and clients, specializing in the software and consulting industries for Enterprise Performance Management (Oracle/Hyperion), Business Intelligence, Human Capital Management, Data Science/Big Data, Cyber Risk Security, Sales, and Product Management. His hands-on positive style as an advisor to candidates and clients provides an environment for redefining the recruitment experience one placement at a time, resulting in better long-term matches. Residing in Monterey, CA near Silicon Valley, he works with boutique firms to large companies nationwide. In his free time he enjoys sailing, hiking/walking, woodworking and most recently home coffee roasting. You can check out his website at www.fairwindsrecruiting.com.