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Why should you have questions to ask in a job interview? Because interviews should never feel like a one-sided interrogation. They should be a conversation between potential employer and employee to make sure this will be a good fit for both of you. To make that happen, you need to ask good questions. Not only does that give you information you need to make a good decision, it makes you stand out. Asking the right questions helps elevate you as a candidate and helps you get the offer. Here are 3 questions to ask in a job interview that get you the offer you want:

What would your ideal candidate look like?

There’s no need to wait until the end of the interview to ask questions. Toward the beginning of your interview, ask about their ideal candidate, or their wish list in a perfect candidate.

For example, if they begin with ‘Tell me about yourself,’ you can give a brief summary of your career and then end it with something along the lines of, ‘How does that fit with what you would consider a perfect person for the job?’

Don’t be afraid to ask a question like this. You aren’t highlighting how far away you are from perfect.  I’ve worked with thousands of hiring managers over the years and they always have a wish list that’s way too long. They know they can’t get everything they want, and that no one’s perfect. What you ARE doing with this using what they say as clues to improve your answers for the rest of the interview. You might have read the job description, but this hiring manager may very well see a few ‘requirements’ as more critical than others.

When you find out what this hiring manager thinks is the most important, you can tailor your answers and be much more effective as a candidate for the rest of the interview.

I’ve thought about how I would approach this role for you and I put together a plan for what I would do. Can I go over it with you to get your thoughts?

The plan you need to go over with the hiring manager is a 30-60-90-day plan. This is a written outline of what you see as the most important priorities, tasks, and goals for the first 3 months on the job. To create a 30-60-90-day plan, you need to research the job and the company to come up with specific, detailed, strategic steps to success. The reward is that when you go over your plan, you naturally ask questions that show your knowledge of the job and your commitment to success. You stand out in a BIG way over your competition. Don’t go to your job interview without one – read more about how to create a 30-60-90 day plan.

Based on what we’ve talked about today, do you agree that I would be a good fit for this job?

At the end of the interview, after you’ve talked over your plan, ask the hiring manager what he or she thinks about how you did. This may feel bold to ask, but it really isn’t. You deserve an answer. If they agree, then you can leave the interview knowing you gave yourself the best possible chance at getting this job. If they don’t, you may be able to find out what’s making them hesitate. Sometimes, it’s something you can resolve in your favor right then and there. If so, you’ve saved your job offer.

These aren’t the only questions to ask in a job interview…make sure to ask specific questions about the job itself, too. But these are smart, strategic questions to ask that give you vital information you need in order to get the job offer. Best of luck!