Every time you interview for a job, you should ask questions. The key is to ask smart questions. Everything you do in the interview should be geared toward helping you impress the employer, sell yourself for the job, and learn what you need to know in order to take it (or not). So what questions should you ask? Here are 3 smart job interview questions to ask employers.
Question 1 – What’s on your wish list for a perfect candidate for this job?
Why would you want to ask about their perfect candidate? Won’t that highlight the fact that you’re not perfect? No. What this question will do is get them to tell you what’s most important to them as an interviewer. Many times, this doesn’t necessarily match the posted job description.
Once they tell you, you can use that knowledge to inform your own answers. For instance, if they say that quality X is especially important, you know to tell the story of how you used quality X and were successful. As a result, they’ll be more sold on you as a candidate. You have what they most want.
What if you don’t have experience with quality X? Then you talk about the X-adjacent quality that you do have. As in, “I’ve done Y and Z, which is pretty close to X. So not only can I get to X, I can also bring Y and Z.”
Knowing what that employer values most can only help you in the interview.
Question 2 – I’ve been thinking about how I would approach this role and I’ve put together some ideas for what I would do in the first 3 months. Can I show you and get your feedback?
After you’ve answered a few questions and gone over some of your background, ask this question and bring out your 30-60-90-day plan. This kind of plan is a written outline of priorities and tasks for your first 3 months in that job. When you go over it with your future boss, it’s like you’re working together already. They can see your knowledge of the job, your critical thinking skills, and your work ethic. You get to see how this person responds to you and your ideas. Hiring managers are so impressed by these plans that they’ve extended job offers within minutes of the interview; sometimes for more senior roles at higher salaries.
You’ll need to do some research on the company and the job to create a good plan; but that research and your thought process will absolutely contribute to better interview answers overall. You’ll be stronger throughout the interview because you created a plan.
Question 3 – Based on what we’ve talked about so far, do you agree that I would be successful in this job?
This kind of question is a closing technique often used in sales (which makes sense because the job interview is a sales process). It’s very effective in job interviews.
What you’re doing with this question is finding out how you did. What do they think of you? It may seem too bold to ask, but you need to. If they agree that you would be successful, then you know you did a great job and you have an advocate for hiring you after you leave. If they hesitate or flat out tell you they don’t think so, you should ask what they have doubts about. If they tell you, you may be able to address those and even correct them right then and there, which could save your job offer. Sometimes their objections are things you can overcome with additional information.
You should never, ever leave an interview without asking this kind of closing question.
For more job interview help:
- Read about more questions to ask in job interviews.
- Discover the best answers to 101 interview questions.
- Sign up to attend a free webinar to sharpen your job interview skills.
- Schedule one-on-one career coaching.