Job interviews are full of opportunities for you to shine as a candidate. One opportunity that is frequently missed is when the interviewer asks the candidate if he or she has any questions. I always ask this when I’m done with my questioning because this is what tells me how interested the person is in the position. Yet more than half of the people I’ve interviewed through the years had either no questions or struggled to come up with one.
A candidate that’s truly interested and excited about the job will be able to envision themselves with the job – just like they would when buying a new car. Except instead of asking about fuel efficiency, how it runs on the highway, etc… you should ask some of the questions that would normally come up during your first day orientation. You obviously don’t want to ask detailed questions about benefits until you’ve received an offer, but you’ll want to ask about the company’s atmosphere, the people and keys to success.
So here are ten questions that you can ask at the end of an interview. You don’t need to ask all ten, but try to ask at least three or four and don’t ask a question if you’ve already discussed this earlier on in the interview.
1. How can someone be a success at this position?
This is a simple question that shows that you’re not only interested in the position but you’re also serious about being successful if you join the company.
2. What is a typical day like here?
You may be asked for clarification with this one so explain that you’re interested in learning about the day to day tasks and activities that your potential workmates participate in. You can ask follow up questions about what types of meetings they go to as it again shows interest in the position.
3. What do you like most about working here?
This is a good question to ask everyone you meet with because it provides you with extra information that can be used later on with future interviews. They may tell you about a process, a benefit or something else that may make the job more appealing to you.
4. What would you change about your job?
This question should only be asked as a follow-up to question 3. You could also reword it as “if you could change something about your job, what would it be?” Just make sure you’ve already established rapport with the interviewer before asking this. When the job market benefits candidates or you feel you’ll be fielding multiple offers, this type of question will tell you if there’s potential for it to be a bad fit. It could reveal things about the company such as excess red tape, long hours and poor management — especially if the interviewer is unskilled in job interviewing.
5. What gets people excited about their work?
This is a more positive version of question 3 and is a good one to ask people in human resources. It’ll clue you in as to what type of people work for the company and will give you some information that you can use to establish rapport in subsequent interviews.
6. Any there areas related to my skills or experience that you have questions or concerns about?
I used to use this question with hiring managers to help get them off the fence when considering me as a new hire. It gives them the chance to address their concerns while you can answer them rather than them discussing them after the interview is over. I asked this once and was told by the interviewer that I would have been a stronger candidate had I had experience with a particular tool. I was able to tell him that I did use that tool in a prior job but removed that line from my resume because of space considerations.
7. What type of team activities does the work group participate in?
You may need to clarify on this question so make sure you ask about team-building as well as how the group works together. This shows that you’re a team player and also shows you whether the people you might be working with actually like each other. If you hear things like they go to lunch together frequently, it shows they get along well.
8. What teams and/or people does this position interact with?
This question is good because it can give you an opportunity to shine above other candidates. I interviewed for a technical job once where they told me that the position periodically interacts directly with customers. I was able to tell them that I had worked at a company where I had to frequently answer technical questions for non-technical clients and had to make sure I used “plain English.” This helped reassure the manager that I could handle a role that no one else on his team wanted.
9. What are some of the challenges that this position might face?
Again, this shows interest and gives you some insight as to some of the more challenging aspects of the job.
10. What made you decide to work here?
This question is a great one for someone you’re having trouble establishing rapport with as it gets them to share something about themselves. They may open up to you and share why they left their last job, they may tell you why they liked the company or they may reveal to some tricks that helped them get hired. Listen very closely to their answer.
So these are some questions you can ask during an interview. Print this out and take it with you to your next interview and review it while you’re waiting. Remember that some of these questions are to establish rapport, others make you shine while others provide you with information to ensure you make the right decision should you be given an offer.
If you’ve found this article useful, you might want to check out my new CD on Job Interviewing. It’s packed with tips like these that you can listen to over and over again.