3 Must Ask Questions Candidates Must Ask at Every Job Interview

must ask questionsLet’s face it…if we’re being honest, no one actually enjoys the process of interviewing for a new job. The sweaty palms, nervous glances, awkward pauses and constant second guessing make the entire scenario seem like something more appropriate for an awkward first date rather than a potentially career-making opportunity. This doesn’t need to be the case, however. There are a few must ask questions that can help.

Preparing for an interview eliminates the nervousness that comes with jumping into the job market. Doing your research on the potential new employer, though, is just the tip of the planning iceberg. Critical interview points should be prepped and mildly rehearsed in order to make you an unflappable, ready for anything, type of candidate.

One of the most important parts of the interview? The “do you have any questions” for me portion.

That is when the tables are turned. This is your opportunity to quiz their potential new employers. Nothing is off-limits, including the role, company and work place culture. In addition to gathering information, these candidate driven questions have a bonus. They are also excellent opportunities to show off your critical thinking and analysis skills. What a great way to improve your chances of scoring the job, right?

With that in mind, here are the top three must ask questions you must ask at every job interview…

1. Could you describe your ideal candidate for this position?

Sure, this question may seem a bit open ended. But asking about expectations for the role is a great way to learn more about  the job. You can also learn a great deal about the management style. After all, this person will potentially be your new supervisor. Which means they are responsible for providing feedback and conducting performance reviews.

This is more than a simple “what does this job entail” query. Why? Because the active phrasing expresses genuine interest in meeting and exceeding established ideals for the position.

2. What would I need to accomplish to receive a 5-star review one year from now?

This question again serves double duty. It both illustrates your work ethic and commitment to excel. It also flushes out your prospective employer’s expectations.

Bonus: You’ll find out what is needed in order to move on up the corporate/job title ladder. Just as important, your interviewer now knows that you’re motivated to excellence rather than just meet expectations.

The phrasing of this question is also important.  By asking your interviewer to picture yourself in the position it sets you apart from the crowd. And that moment allows them to see you in that exact scenario. Consider this  a twist on the old stand by “visualization” method of accomplishing your career goals.

3. Why is the position available?

This is perhaps the most important of our must ask questions.

Asking why the job opening is available will yield helpful information to both yourself and your potential new employer. Finding out whether an opening is a staff expansion could point to increased growth of your role within a given company. On the other hand, learning that someone else vacated may trigger the need for follow up research. It may also lead to questions as to dynamics among team members or co-workers.

That brings up an important note that is often overlooked by interviewees asking about their new potential position:

Remember to process the answer and use the responses to make thoughtful follow up questions.

Inquiring about the reason for an expansion, for example, could yield useful information regarding company growth or new office openings. Likewise, news regarding someone leaving allows you to make inquiries regarding work-life balance, working environment and team interaction. And you can do all that without coming off as paranoid or overly zealous.

Finally: remember that asking questions during the interview process is about more than just stretching out your interview or filling awkward pauses. These must ask questions are valuable tools for gaining insightful knowledge into a job listing. In skilled and prepared hands, asking for additional info also demonstrates in-demand critical thinking skills and a sincere interest in landing the job.

Give our must ask questions a try. And watch as your new found confidence in job interviews reaps real benefits in callbacks, job offers and more.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.


Simply Hired



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