Job hunters ask me all the time about how to respond to difficult questions. But when preparing for an interview, people often forget to prepare questions to ask when the interview is winding down and the person on the other side of the desk asks, “So… are there some questions of yours that you have for me?”
Just because you are asking the questions at this point does not mean the questions should be about you, your wants, or your needs.
The biggest mistake of all is to use this as an opportunity to ask what everyone already knows is on your mind:
- How did I do?
- Will I get called back for another round of discussions?
- When do you want me to start work?
- How much will you pay me?
The subtle thing going on here is giving the job hunter the opportunity to ask a question… is itself a question.
The questions you ask say a great deal about why you are applying for the job, your interest in the work of the organization or department you seek to join, your desire to make a real contribution to the success of your organization and hiring manager, your understanding of the nature of the company or organization, your likelihood to be a lone-wolf or valued team contributor, and more.
This is also the opportunity for you to circle back to some earlier point in the interview when you didn’t quite make a point that you as successfully as you intended.
Consequently, just as every question you are asked in a job interview has an unstated question behind it, so should your questions.
Interview Questions You Should Ask
Here are two examples of interview questions you should ask and their underlying purpose:
Interview Question #1
“We spoke about X a little earlier. I am curious about whether you do it this way or that way? Would the fact that I’ve got experience doing this (relate a very short example of when/how) be something I could build on if I were to work with you?”
This line of questioning does a lot at once:
- Shows you were paying attention and continuing to think about the earlier part of the conversation.
- Demonstrates you know what you are talking about by illustrating your knowledge of various ways to accomplish the work at hand.
- Demonstrates your desire to use your past experience to help the team.
- Shows you want to not only use previously attained skills/experience, but aspire to continue to develop your own ability to contribute.
Interview Question #2
“We spoke about many of the aspects of this job. Of all of them, which is the greatest priority for you?”
This question tries to cut through the whole “wish list” that the employer may have, and let you respond to his/her answer by demonstrating your particular experience, skills, and interest in meeting this particular priority need.
In the short video below, I provide three more key interview questions you can utilize to position yourself effectively by the questions you ask.
Do check it out, and let me know your favorite questions to ask as well!
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