During a job interview, you know this question is coming your way!
Did you know that most job candidates fail to ask questions at the end of their job interview? And not because they don’t have any… but because many candidates hear those words (“do you have any questions for me”) they are instantly filled with a sense of relief. After all, that question indicates the job interview is nearly is over… and they want to get out of there as quickly as possible!
I know what you’re probably thinking: “Ok, I know I should ask questions during my job interview… but what questions should I ask”?
I’ve come up with five questions I asked when interviewing for jobs after college. My strategy: rotate these questions and ask the three that seemed best suited to that interview at that company. (I did almost always ask No. 5… which consistently impressed the interviewer.)
Here are the five questions you should ask on your next job interview, why you should ask them, and what you should do after you ask:
Question 1: What Does the Next 6 Months to 1-Year Look like?
Specifically: What do you hope to see accomplished within the next 6 months to a year from this position and how can I help you get there?
This is a great question to ask because… It lets the employer know you are focused on assisting the company achieve its short-term goals. This also lets the employer know you’re a team player and you’re already thinking of ways you can make a positive contribution.
Now that you’ve asked this question… Listen CLOSELY. The employer is about to fill you in on the short-term goals for the department and company. They’re going to tell you exactly what want to accomplish and what they’re expecting from you. Have a pen and pad ready. Take good notes. Because this information is going to be valuable for the thank you letter you’re going to send after your job interview.
Question 2: What is Your Ideal Candidate?
Specifically: What traits, skills and working style does your ideal candidate demonstrate?
This is a great question to ask because… The employer will often go beyond the job description and marketing-speak to to expound on exactly what they’re looking for in their next candidate. This information is gold… and only given to those candidates smart enough to ask this question!
Now that you’ve asked this question… Respond! Take advantage of the opportunity to reassure the employer that you are that candidate. For an example, if the employer tells you that they’re looking for someone who’s motivated, thrives under pressure, and has great organizational skills; this is your opportunity to tell a story or two that let’s the employer know that you possess those 3 qualities. Provide specific examples… and watch the interviewer nod their head in approval.
Question 3: What Does Success Look Like?
Specifically: What does it take to be successful in this position? What should I do? What should I NOT do?
This is a great question to ask because… This question lets the employer know you have the motivation and determination to perform on the same level as the top performers in the company. Just as important: this question also shows your desire to succeed.
Now that you’ve asked this question… Let the employer know that you have these qualities… the same qualities as the top performers in the company! Again, provide specific examples and tell your story!
Question 4: What Challenges Will I Face?
Specifically: What are some of the challenges for a person entering this position… and how did others overcome those challenges?
This is a great question to ask because… By asking, you’re letting the employer know that you are aware that challenges will occur, and you’re looking forward to taking on those challenges. This also shows the employer that you’re willing to look ahead, and that while you’re not perfect… you are always prepared.
Demonstrate to the employer your ability to empathize and create unique solutions by saying, “That must have been painful” and then asking follow-up questions. Then, with humble confidence, give the employer get a feel of how you handle challenges and barriers to success. Again, storytelling is your best friend.
Question 5: Can I tell you why you should hire me?
Specifically: Before I leave today, can I tell you why you should hire me for this role?
This is a great question to ask because… You’re separating yourself from the rest of the candidates. This final question, the best of them all, must be saved for the very end of your job interview. After all, what better way to depart than to plant inside the interviewer’s head that you are the best candidate? Of course, when you ask this question,
Now that you’ve asked this question… Be prepared to deliver an answer that reflects how your skills, qualifications, work ethic, experience, and education makes you the perfect fit for this job at this company!
Armed with these five questions, and what to do after you ask them, you are now ready to thoroughly impress. Go get ’em… and set yourself apart from everyone with no clue how to take advantage of the “Do you have any questions for me?” question!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Secrets of the Hire!
About the Author: Dayvon Goddard is the founder of Secrets of the Hire, where he focuses on professional and career development for college students and recent graduates through job interview consulting, scholarships, resume consulting, personal branding and LinkedIn workshops. To date, Secrets of the Hire has assisted 1100+ college students and recent graduates find and keep a career they love. Follow Dayvon on Twitter!