Ask questions in the interview to stand out and get the job
As you walk into your interview, ready to sell yourself for the job, you are more than likely concentrating on your best answers to interview questions—not on what you need to ask your interviewer. But asking questions of your own not only gives you information you need to make an informed decision about whether to take the job once you get the offer, it also gives you the information you need to do a better job at selling yourself.
- What are you looking for in an ideal candidate? This will give you an idea as to what skills they need that you have and what key points about your experience will you want to highlight.
- What characteristics does a successful person have in your organization? This is a follow up to the first question that gives you another perspective on what they value.
- What does your company expect from new hires within the first three months on the job? During your interview preparation, you should have created a 30-60-90 plan to show to hiring managers exactly what you plan to do once you jump into your new role and this is your chance to use it.
- Does company management encourage promoting from within the organization? Find out what the opportunities are like once you are hired and are looking for possibilities to advance your career.
- In what way does this position fit into the long-term goals of the organization? Here you are hoping for an answer that will define the purpose of this job within the company, the security of the position, and the potential for long-term growth.
- Where do you think your team needs improvement and how do you see the person in this role contributing to that? This gives you an opportunity to bounce back with the qualities that they said they needed.
- What were the positive and negative attributes of the person who held this position before me? The hiring manager will be able to give you clues as to what they liked about your predecessor and what they did wrong that you can avoid.
- How would I be evaluated in this position and who would be responsible for the evaluations? Finding out this answer will give you more insight into the priorities for candidate and who will be managing you in the position.
- Why would a candidate want to work for you instead of your competitor and why would they stay? You are giving them an opportunity to sell you on the position now and to give you some ideas about whether the job would be right for you.
- Is there any reason why I would not be successful in this role? Is there any reason why I could not move forward into this position? While this may feel pretty bold or even slightly pushy, this aggressiveness and honesty in asking for the job is what gets people hired. If you find out what misgivings they have before you leave the interview, you will have a chance to clear things up and counter their doubts--and quite possibly save your job offer.
Thinking about your job interview with this kind of strategic, thoughtful approach will help you get the job. Check out my Strategic Approach to the Interview for a comprehensive approach to getting the job.