I’ve been talking to a couple friends lately who are in the midst of applying and interviewing for jobs. We were talking about the best questions to ask at the end of an interview and were struck by the way that we often just ask questions to ask them – to play the part. We ask questions that don’t necessarily offer us much value but they fill the void when you ask them and make you look intelligent and inquisitive.
The best questions to ask during an interview are ones that create a two-way conversation.
But we tend not to do that. We keep the focus on us with our questions. Instead, we should be flipping the script and asking hard hitting questions of the interviewer.
As someone who has had quite a few jobs over the past couple of years, I wanted to pass along some of the best questions I’ve used and others that have been recommended to me that will actually help you in the long run.
Yes, they will impress the interviewer as they are poignant and relevant. But more so, they will offer you much needed insight and confidence into whether you should proceed with the position or look elsewhere.
After all, it is your life and your job, so get the answers you need. An interview is a two-way conversation!
Here are the 7 best questions to ask during an interview.
“Let’s say you offer me this position and I accept. A year from at my annual performance review, I’ve exceeded expectations and you’re very impressed. What are things that I have done which have made that impression?”
I like this question a lot more than the usual “tell me what success looks like in this role.” Why? Because it forces your interviewer to address more quantifiable aspects of success at the company in question.
“Could you give an example of a typical working day?”
Have you ever started a job without really knowing what you were getting into? I have.
Not a smart move.
Ask this question to set expectations for what you’ll actually be doing – which is a lot more specific and relevant than your “role and responsibilities.” Ask this question!
“Can you give examples of recent projects worked on by someone in this position?”
Along the same lines as the previous questions, this will give you great insight into the specifics of the role.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “Where do you see the company in five years?”
I love this question as it is something you are normally asked and you have a canned answer for. Flip the script and ask it of your interview. It is completely fair and will give you a good sense of how the company fosters growth, vision for the future, etc.
“What’s the toughest part of the role I’m applying for?”
Ask this question as early as you can as doing as it will allow you to identify the areas they consider most when making hiring decisions. Then use that insight when answering future questions and highlight the ways you excel in that respect.
“What was your team’s biggest success in the last year? Mistake?”
Again, flip the script here! Let them describe to you what success looks like at the company.
“Can you give me an example where a current employee exceeded expectations?”
This is another way to ask the usual question of how to succeed in the position. Asking them to be specific with examples prevents the usual answers.
I’d love to hear of the questions you have asked or ones that you have heard asked. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
in your inbox everyday at 10am CST.
No fluff or "pie in the sky inspiration." Just real stories.
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