A job interview is a stressful situation, particularly if you're looking for your first job. But in the course of preparing for all potential scenarios, you may forget about one of the most important parts of the interview process: asking your own questions.
Forget impressing your counterpart with answers about your expertise and interests. Asking pertinent questions about the job you're about to walk into makes you seem knowledgeable, interested, and thorough.
Of course, that impression is only possible if you ask the right questions. To help you in that regard, here are 10 job interview questions that will make you stand out in the eyes of your potential employer.
1) What Can You Tell Me About the Job that Wasn't In the Description?
This question accomplishes two goals. It allows you to gather more information about the position that you can incorporate into your strategy, while simultaneously communicating to your interviewer that you want to learn more it. Anyone with an impressive resume can land an interview. But only candidates who show genuine interest in the position at hand will typically be considered for the position.
2) What is the Biggest Problem Your Company is Facing Right Now?
Every organization faces business challenges, and chances are some of them will relate to your position. This question deepens your understanding of the role and responsibilities you would have at your new employer. At the same time, your interviewer will be more likely to see you as a problem-solver who is not afraid to take on responsibility.
3) What Can You Tell Me About Employee Turnover?
Asked in the right way, this question can give you valuable insight into the organization that might be about to hire you. Is the company growing or shrinking, and why? Asking a follow up about why people leave can also be beneficial to help you better understand the organizational culture you're about to step into.
4) What About My Qualifications Would Make You Hesitant to Hire Me?
Even though we all love to present ourselves as such, no candidate is perfect. We all have shortcoming, from a lack of specialized training or expertise to a simple lack of experience. Your recruiter knows that as well as you do, so sugarcoating your professional profile will not be authentic. This question gets right to the heart of the matter, showing your potential employer that you are not afraid to improve on weaknesses.
5) What Do You Envision for This Position Long-Term?
Just as you should have a long-term professional goal in mind when entering the interview room, so should your employer. This question shows that you don't just care about quick bucks, but see the position as an opportunity to grow within the company. The answer may also give you insight into professional development and career advancement opportunities.
6) Will I be Able to Take Advantage of Professional Development and Training Opportunities?
If you did not receive the answer through your last question, it's worth asking on its own. A desire for professional development and training positions you as someone who is not satisfied with the status quo, but willing to refine and expand their skill set to better help the organization long term.
7) How Do You Define Success?
You can ask this question on both a philosophical and a practical level. The former allows you to gain an understanding of the company culture, which may be people driven, data driven, or both. The latter sets expectations for your position, and helps you understand just what will be expected from you should you be selected.
8) What Positions Will I Work Most Closely With?
Everybody is a team player, which is among the most annoying cliches job seekers use. So instead of talking about how great you work with others, let your interviewer know more subtly by staking out the collaborative situation. This question shows that you care about teamwork without needing to state that you do. As a bonus, you can also use it as research to find and even connect with future co-workers, who might have a say in your hiring process.
9) What Are My KPIs in the First 30 Days?
Especially if this is your first job, you need to show that you're ready to hit the ground running. Asking about the expectations placed on your position in the first year presents you as well-prepared to take the job, and discuss any potential training that needs to occur before the 'real work' can begin. You can also ask the same question for the first year, which gives you a more long-term perspective on what your position will be expected to accomplish.
10) What is the Next Step?
Finally, this question is perfect to end your interview on a high note. It will provide you with the information you need to move forward, as well as reasonable expectations on when you will hear back. At the same time, it communicates to your interviewer that your interest in the position remains high, and you want to move forward quickly and efficiently.
Bonus Tip: Engage Your Interviewer
Finally, Forbes has a valuable suggestion to end any interview on a high note: engage your recruiter with a personal question about their experience at the company. A question along the lines of "I was wondering what your best moment so far at [Company Name] was" helps you gain insight into the company's history, and allows your interviewer to make a personal connection to the interview process. If they're enthusiastic about the company, reminding them of that feeling increases your chances of finishing the interview positively.
Whether you are interviewing for your first job or looking to move into a leadership position, asking questions should be at the forefront of your mind when preparing for the interview. Not only will you glean valuable information about the organization and position, but you will also position yourself as inquisitive and thorough. By talking back, you make a positive impression, while increasing your chances of getting hired.