At some point during any job interview, the interviewer should turn to you, the candidate, and ask if you have any questions. And you should have some! Be prepared to ask three to five of these questions to impress your interviewer and help set you apart from the other candidates:
- How has this position evolved over time?
Obviously if the position is newly created, this question would be irrelevant. But if you can get a brief history of the role, you can determine whether the position has expanded over the years, whether it’s a dead-end job or whether the interviewer really knows the role of this person in the company.
- What have previous employees done to succeed in this position?
Again, you can’t ask this question about a newly created role. But the answer can tell you how this organization assesses achievements and measures success. You’ll know what the expectations will be and whether you have the ability to meet them.
It may also help you discover what happened to the person who previously held the position—was she promoted? Did she move to a different department? This will help you uncover whether the organization believes in advancement and talent development.
- What would be my top priority over the next three months if I got this job?
Not only should the answer to this question let you know what you’ll need to focus on if you do get hired for the position, but it shows the interviewer that you are a) thinking ahead to how to succeed and b) someone who likes to accomplish things.
- What do you like most about working here?
It’s time to turn the tables for a minute. If the interviewer is your prospective boss, you’ll find out a little bit about her values and what role they played in her success with the organization. This may help you determine if you share the same values and whether you’ll fit in. You’ll also hopefully find out the positives about working there—great benefits, generous bonuses, a supportive work environment. If your
interviewer seems to be struggling to come up a positive or specific reason, consider it a red flag!
- Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
This is part two of turning the tables. You’re giving yourself the chance to address any hesitations on the interviewer’s part before you leave. And asking this question shows that you’re secure enough to know that you may have professional vulnerabilities. It also displays confidence and lets them know that you’re open to constructive criticism. If the interviewer voices concerns, such as about a lack of training in certain areas or gaps in employment, you’re given the chance to explain how you can overcome these issues.