Think an interview is a one-way street? Think again. One of the biggest mistakes a job-seeker can make is not asking any questions at a job interview.
An interviewer will almost always ask you at the end of the meeting if you have any questions say no, and you look ill-prepared, uninformed, and uninterested. Say yes, however, and ask the right questions, and you’ll impress your potential employer with your commitment, interest, and thoughtfulness.
Coming to an interview prepared with questions is as essential as coming to an interview in a suit and with your resume; in other words, it’s a must. Here are five must-ask questions at your next job interview:
1. What do you look for in a successful candidate?
This question can get you a lot of great information about what a potential employer values in his or her workers. Listen closely to how your interviewer answers this question, and be prepared to briefly respond with how you fit his or her descriptions of a successful candidate. Do they value writing skills? Point out any work you have published, or your blog. Do they value management skills? Let them know about any team you may have managed at a previous position.
2. How can I quickly become a strong contributor in this position?
Ask this question to get familiar with what kind of goals you might need to start working toward right away. Know where you’ll be going right off the bat, and you’ll have a chance to impress your new managers and coworkers by hitting the ground running. This question also shows your potential employer that you’re a “go-getter” and ready to do what it takes to make progress at the company.
3. Do you have any concerns about my potential for success in this position?
This is a better way of saying: “Do you think I’m a fit?” This question will give you some insight into what the interviewer is thinking about your qualifications at this point in the hiring process. It will also give you the opportunity to address any problems immediately and potentially alleviate an interviewer’s concerns. Keep in mind that some concerns, like lack of experience, are not readily fixable; instead, keep those critiques in mind as you pursue other opportunities and continue to build your qualifications.
4. What are your goals for the company in the near future, and how does this position support those goals?
Ask this question to get familiar with where the company stands, where it’s going, and how you can be a part of its future. This is a good opportunity to show off the company research you should have done prior to the interview. Asking this question will show that you’re knowledgeable of and interested in the company, plus help you envision what opportunities may await you at your potential job.
5. What are the next steps?
This question is crucial! Ask the interviewer where he or she is in the hiring process for this position and what the next steps will be. Make sure to find out the best way (and time) to get in touch can you call? Do they prefer email? You’ll get a better idea of the timing and when you might expect to hear from the company, or when a good time would be to follow up. Always, always follow up.