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Questions to Ask at an Interview

In my last several posts I talked about the questions you may be asked in your interview and how to answer them.  Now it’s time to discuss the questions you – as the person being interviewed – should ask.  And yes, you absolutely need to prepare some questions that you will ask the Hiring Manager during your interview.  This demonstrates that you’ve thought about the position, did your homework, and came prepared to ask some specific, intelligent questions.

One of the things I always ask applicants at the end of the interview is what questions would they like to ask.  Sadly, the vast majority of the time when I ask this, the applicants either say no or they’ll ask some general, meaningless question that has nothing to do specifically with that job or my company.  But handled properly, this is an excellent opportunity to show you’ve researched the position and the company.

You should prepare at least four or five questions.  In the event that some of them will have already been covered by the interviewer, you want to be still have a few you can ask.

Here are some general questions you can ask that will fit almost any interview and show that you have a deep and genuine interest in the position.  If you can tailor them even a bit more specifically for that position, so much the better.
•    “If I were to ask one of your employees what the best thing is about working here, what would they say?”

•    “Can you tell me about the people I’d be working with? How long have you worked with them?”

•    “How will you measure success in this job?”

•    “What projects will I be working on?”

•    “What do you look for most in a new employee?”

•    “What do you like best about your company? Why?”

•    “What do you see as the most important qualifications for this job?”

In addition to these more general questions, it’s best to also have a question or two ready that clearly demonstrates that you’ve researched that specific company.  For example, you can ask a question about some aspect of one the company’s objectives or strategies, or ask what the results were for a specific initiative, etc.  The point here is to let your questions demonstrate to the Hiring Manager know that you’re well prepared, knowledgeable about the company and have a high degree of interest in that exact position.

Having said all this, I need to stress one very important point about any questions you may ask:  always remember that the first interview is NOT the time to ask questions about either salary or benefits. Save these types of questions until you’re actually offered the job.

My next post will begin a series about the multitude of other things you need to do in order to be the most well prepared candidate in your interviews.

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