The best way to approach any job interview is to treat it like it’s a conversation. That means you don’t just answer questions; you ask them. Your questions get you to several important goals. You demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm; you uncover information you need to shine; and you find out if this job is ultimately a good fit for you. Here are ## awesome questions to ask in a job interview.
1 - What would an ideal candidate for this job look like?
Don’t be afraid to ask this. Nobody can match an ideal. Instead, your goal is to uncover their wish list. The truth is that it could be a little different than what’s in the job description. What does this hiring manager really care about? Then, you can use that extremely valuable information to guide what you talk about for the rest of your interview. You’ll know which parts of your background and experience will give you the most impact in your answers.
2 - What traits would an especially successful person have in this organization?
Organizations have personalities and common values. Try to find out what this company values with this question. You’ll gain even more information to help you highlight how you’re a great fit for the job.
3 - What will you expect from a new hire in the first 3 months of this job?
This question should open up a clear conversational path to introducing your 30-60-90-Day Plan. Use your plan to show this hiring manager what you can do in the first 3 months. Because of your written plan, you’ll stand out over other candidates. Find out why a 30-60-90-day plan will knock their socks off.
4 - Does this company usually promote from within?
Some companies prefer promoting from their own ranks at higher levels and bringing in new people on the bottom. Others like to bring in new, outside ideas at higher levels. Find out where this company falls on that spectrum, and know your chances of moving up in that organization.
5 - How does this position fit with the long-term goals of this company?
With this question, you’ll get an overview of this job in the larger organization. Is this a valuable role? How secure is it? Will it lead to long-term growth for you?
6 - What are the biggest needs for improvement and how do you see the person in this role contributing to that?
Their answer could open up an easy way to talk about a quality or experience you have that could help you contribute to those needed improvements.
7 - What are this position’s biggest challenges?
What’s are the toughest issues you’ll face in this role? Not only can you use this opportunity to point out how you’ve overcome similar challenges in the past—you’ll gain valuable insights for faster success in this job.
8 - Tell me about the person who had this job before me. What contributed to their success or failure in this role?
Hopefully, their answer will give you a blueprint for success in this role. If the previous occupant was a runaway success, then emulate some of those qualities or strategies so you can also be successful. On the other hand, if this person was fired or demoted, learn a lesson from their mistakes and take care not to repeat them.
9 - How will the person in this position be evaluated and who does that evaluation?
What will you be graded on? Who will be managing you? This is important information that outlines a blueprint for success in this role.
10 - Why is working for this company better than working for one of your competitors?
Give them a chance to sell you on this company! Another way to ask this is to say, ‘What do you like most about working here?’
11 - Can you describe a typical day for someone in this position?
This can help you decide if the job is a good fit, and understand what would be expected of you. Also, it will give you another opportunity to talk about experiences in your past that are similar to your future experiences in this role.
12 - What are the potential growth areas in the next few years that you’re most excited about?
Their answer should give you important clues about growth, stability, and room for advancement.
13 - If you were to narrow the field to two final candidates, with equal skills and experience, how would you choose one over the other?
The truth might be that the one with the lower salary requirements has an advantage. And the hiring manager may not tell you this. But you could still find something worth knowing.
14 - Based on our conversation so far, can you see me being successful in this role?
If they say yes, you know you have an advocate for you after you leave—which boosts your chances of ultimately getting the offer. If they say no or they’re not sure, ask what they see as your weaknesses. You may get a chance to resolve those issues right there and save your offer. If you’re not comfortable with a bolder question like this, soften it up by asking, “Can you see any reason I wouldn’t move forward in this process?” This is a technique called closing, and it’s a priceless interview question for you.
15 - What's the next step in this process?
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to close the deal. You can't leave the interview without asking for the job. Not only will you give yourself a little more peace of mind by knowing what their timeline looks like, you demonstrate that you're proactive and confident. And, you’ll show them how you’ll positively and confidently deal with customers or clients.
Be strategic in every job interview! Check out my Strategic Interview Approach for a comprehensive plan to prepare and perform in any interview to get the offer.