The Importance of Asking Questions During an Interview

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It’s only one part of the process, but how you handle that part can make or break the interview: When the interviewer turns to you and says, “Now, do you have any questions for me?”

You had better be prepared with some questions—and not about salary or vacation schedules. Your questions need to impress the interviewer and show your interest in and attitude toward the job.

First, a warning. None of your questions should be about something you could have researched ahead of time. It’s expected these days that interview candidates will do their homework before walking through the door.

Your first questions should be regarding the actual position and how your background aligns with it. For example:

  • What would you say are the three most important skills needed to excel in this position?
  • Can you please show me some examples of projects that I’d be working on?
  • What particular achievements would equate to success at this job? What would success look like?
  • Are you most interested in a candidate who works independently, on a team or cross-functionally?

Hopefully the answers will give you the opportunity to show how well you’d suit the position, using examples from your experience.

You can also display your interest in the position by asking questions that show you are considering the actuality of working there:

  • How would you describe the company’s culture and leadership philosophy?
  • What is the typical career trajectory for a person in this position?
  • Who would be my manager, and will I have the opportunity to meet him or her?
  • What does a typical day or week look like for the person in this position?  Is there travel, flextime, etc.?
  • What is the next step? When do you think you will be making a decision?

A final word about questions: You should also be prepared to answer some general questions that aren’t related to the actual job description. Some examples may include:

  • Why did you choose a career in _____?
  • Why would you like to work for our company?
  • What style of management gets the best from you?
  • What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held?
  • What are your major weaknesses and what are your strengths?
  • What do you think determines a person’s progress in a company?
  • What does “teamwork” mean to you?

Sometimes the most important question you can ask in a job search is, “How can I find the right job for my skills, experience and personality?” At Smith Hanley, we have the answer! We’re ready and waiting to help you find your next great opportunity, so call or contact us any time!

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