Most job seekers understand the importance of asking good questions during the interview. Not only is it essential to come prepared with answers, but it’s also critical to ask the right questions. Your inquiries communicate a lot about who you are and what your expectations are for the position. By asking genuine and engaging questions, you’re showing the interviewer that you actually care about the position, the company, and how you might be able to contribute.
Think of the questions you ask as being statements that can help set you apart from competing candidates. Asking too soon about salary, for instance, could communicate to the interviewer that you’re primarily concerned with money. Your finances might be an honest concern, but leading with this question could also make you seem greedy or parsimonious. A question about teamwork, however, communicates that you are collaborative and ready to work well with others.
Think of the questions you ask as being statements that can help set you apart from competing candidates.
This past calendar year, our staff interviewed over a thousand candidates. Based on our staffing and recruiting experience in Austin, we’ve compiled some of our best-recommended questions to ask in your next interview:
How long have you worked here? What have you enjoyed most?
Poet and activist Maya Angelou is often attributed with saying, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The same is true for job interviews. Asking personable questions can give you insights into the office culture and it can also make a lasting impression on the hiring manager.
What is the ideal candidate for this position?
This is a great open-ended question to help clarify any misunderstandings about the role. If the hiring manager says something you have not explicitly mentioned yet, this presents an excellent opportunity to fill in the gaps. This is your chance to tell them that you’re the person they’ve been looking for.
How would you describe the company’s culture?
Cultural fit is becoming more and more of a determining factor in the hiring process. Remember that the interview is also a way for you to determine whether or not you want to pursue the role. This question also provides an indirect way to find out more about overall employee wellness and benefits programs.
How does this company define and measure success?
Not only does this question help you understand the company’s expectations, it also implies that you are focused and determined to be successful.
I read ABC in XYZ about your company. Can you tell me more about that?
Most people know it’s important to research the company prior to your job interview. This question gives you an opportunity to show that you’ve done your homework without coming across as a know-it-all.
Do you have any specific concerns that I can address in further detail?
It might seem counterintuitive to highlight your own flaws in an interview. However, this question conveys a sense of confidence and could provide insight into what the hiring manager(s) might be thinking. It also gives you one last chance to clarify any apprehension regarding your candidacy.
What is the next step in the hiring process?
Consider this question as an opportunity to affirm your desire and enthusiasm for the position. It also might provide some insight into how many other candidates are being interviewed or when you should plan to send your follow-up message.
Keep in mind that these are only examples, and you should customize these questions based on the specifics of the position you’re considering. In general, focus on asking open-ended questions, and practice asking them out loud until you feel confident. Practice. Practice. Practice.