You go for the job interview. You’ve carefully prepared to answer even the toughest questions. Explanation for that gap in employment three years ago. Check. An example of your leadership skills in action. Check. Your greatest weakness. Check. There is always the moment in the interview when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. Do you know what to ask?
Many prospective employees draw a blank, and miss the opportunity to ask intriguing questions that engage your prospective new boss and help you land that new job. It’s your opportunity to stand out from the crowd. It could either boost your chances of landing the job – or at least advancing to the next round of interviews – or eliminate you from the running. And there is one thing you should never say: Never, ever answer the question, “Do you have any questions?” with the answer “no.”
You want to accomplish two things with the questions you ask: 1) Demonstrate your interest in this specific company and the specific position you are interviewing for. And 2) Gather clues about whether the job is a good fit and what strengths to play up and what weaknesses you’ll need to overcome in order to land the position. That way, you’ll know what information or examples to follow up with to better showcase yourself. Be curious. Ask good questions that help you get a better understanding of the job and the company.
A demonstration of passion and interest can go a long way in showing you are the right candidate for the job. The types of questions you ask will help make that point. As a rule of thumb, ask open-ended questions and show that you’ve done your homework on the company. Here are a six to get you started:
Six Great Questions to Ask During a Job Interview
1. I noticed on the company website that [interesting tidbit you researched on the company site]…. How does that change/initiative impact this position and/or department?
2. How would you describe the ideal person for this position? (And what does success for this position look like?)
3. Why is this position open at this time?
4. What concerns do you have about my ability to succeed in the position?
5. What do you like most about the company culture here and what would you change if you could?
6. What are the next steps in your interview and hiring process?
Valorie Burton is the author of eight books, including Successful Women Think Differently and What’s Really Holding You Back? She is founder of the Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute – a coaching training and personal development company that helps individuals thrive in life and work. Subscribe to free her weekly e-newsletter at Valorie.Burton.com.