Do you know the most important question you should ask in phone interviews? Hopefully, you already know that it’s important that you should ask questions in your telephone interview. But you might not know that one question in particular can ensure a good interview or even turn the tide of a bad interview.
How to Answer Interview Questions - Q5 -- Describe how you would handle a situation if you were required to finish multiple tasks by the end of the day, and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them.
How to Answer Interview Questions - Q14 -- How to Answer Interview Questions - Q2 -- How did you deal with the situation the last time your boss chastised you or strongly or disagreed with a statement, a plan or a decision you made?
How to Answer Interview Questions - Q29 -- I noticed that you are applying for a position that is not as senior as you past positions. Why would you consider a job that is, in effect, a demotion for you?
Click to expand question sets, then click individual questions to read the post.
By the end of the job interview, when they ask if you have any questions for them, you probably feel like you’re toast. You’re just done, and you want to go home. That’s the way most people feel, so the most common response to this question is, “I don’t have any questions, I think you’ve covered everything.”
The best questions to ask are those that make it clear you’ve been listening to what their main problems and concerns are. Clarify, elaborate, or dig deeper. There are lots of good questions to ask.
You can ask about the timeline: “How soon do you want to have someone in the role?” That shows you are motivated to get started quickly.
You can ask about the last person who was in this role. If the person who had the position before was promoted, ask, “Is that a traditional track for this job?” If the person who was in the role before wasn’t meeting expectations, ask, “Can you tell me how they weren’t meeting expectations so I could understand?”
If you’re speaking with your direct future boss, ask about the biggest challenges of the job and can he see you meeting those challenges?
If you’re speaking with the Human Resources Manager, ask about the company, the growth of the department, where it fits in relation to the rest of the company, and so on.
If you’re speaking with upper management, ask questions that demonstrate your understanding of the industry as a whole and this company’s place in it and its plans for the future.
This is not the time to ask about anything that would benefit you, like salary, vacations, or perks. At this point, they’re like your customer. It’s all about them right now, not you. Remember that the job interview is a sales process and you have to keep selling, or keep showing them all the different reasons why you’d be a good fit for them until they say, “yes, we want to hire you.”
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You don’t have to keep asking an endless round of more and more questions. Just ask a few more questions that show your interest, enthusiasm, and concern for their problem (which is the job that isn’t getting done until they put someone in that role).
Continue the conversation and ask questions to find out more details that will help you move in the direction of uncovering more of their motivations, needs, and wants you can so you can better position yourself as the candidate they want.
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. (But whatever you do, never ask about money.) 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.