Six Questions You Should Ask During an Interview
When faced with an impending interview, you probably prepare answers to commonly asked questions to make sure you’re not caught off guard. You carefully craft responses to questions like “What’s your greatest weakness?” or “Tell me about yourself.” But understand that a successful interview isn’t just about the way you answer the interviewer’s questions; it’s also about the questions YOU ask the interviewer! Let’s take a look at a few questions you can ask during an interview to stand out from the competition.
1. Assuming I exceed your expectations for the next two or three years, what types of opportunities for advancement are there within this organization?
The strategy behind this question is that it makes the assumption that you’ll exceed the employer’s expectations and that you’re looking for a long-term position. Hiring decision makers want to find candidates who’ll stay the course and deliver return on investment. By asking this question, you demonstrate that you’re focused on longevity and growth. In this case, the question is more about the message you convey within the question than the hiring decision maker’s answer.
2. What could the prior person who filled this role have done better?
By asking this question, you can get a sense of the organization’s pain points and understand the priorities of the hiring decision maker. You can then tailor your responses to address the employer’s concerns. For example, if the interviewer mentions that the prior employee could have communicated better, then you know that you should emphasize and provide examples of your communication skills in action.
3. What is the least appealing aspect of this job?
The purpose of this question is twofold: First, it gives you a clear indication if the job will be a bad fit; second, it gives you the opportunity to highlight your value relating to the most challenging aspect of the job. For instance, if the interviewer tells you that the worst part of the job is dealing with difficult clients, then you can highlight your passion for and experience in turning around negative relationships by providing a few specific examples.
4. What’s the most important thing I can accomplish in the first 60 days on the job?
This is a great question because the interviewer’s response can illuminate the employer’s main pain points and goals related to the position. If the interviewer mentions that implementing a new CRM is going to be a critical project that you’ll be expected to tackle, then you can zero in and expand on your CRM expertise. This question essentially allows you to pick the brain of the interviewer to better focus some of your talking points.
5. What can you tell me about this organization that isn’t widely known?
The primary objective of most initial interviews is to set the candidate up for a second, more in-depth interview. This question allows you to get a deeper understanding of the organization, beyond facts you discovered during a Google search. In doing so, you can develop themes and talking points for a subsequent interview. Also, people love talking about themselves and the things they’re proud of. This question gives the interviewer a chance to tell you a bit more about the history and culture of the company he represents, which is a great way to build rapport.
6. It sounds like I would really enjoy this position. What can I clarify that would make hiring me an easy decision?
At the end of a successful interview, you should state your case and reiterate your interest in the job. This question demonstrates confidence and focus. Additionally, if there were any issues that arose during the interview, you can concisely address them and prove that you’re the best fit for the role.
Recently, I wrote a blog about curiosity and the job search. Employers are always looking for candidates who think outside the box and look for creative ways to improve operations. Asking intelligent and insightful questions can help demonstrate the type of creativity and curiosity employers seek and ultimately set you apart from the crowd.