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“Do you have any questions for me?”
This would be a simple “yes” or “no” in most scenarios, but when a potential employer asks it in an interview, it carries more weight.
The majority of interviewers will expect you to have something to ask about the company, its culture, potential growth opportunities, etc. — after all, you should be eager to find out if it’s a good fit on your end as well. Putting thought into the questions you ask also shows that you care about the position, which is never a bad look.
So, are you ready to knock their socks off at your next interview? Remember the following dozen questions and use the ones applicable to what you really want to know. Then, sit back and learn more about where you could potentially work, all while the interviewer stands impressed by your intelligent inquisitiveness.
1. How has this position changed over the years?
Whether you’re an entry-level or executive employee, it’s good to ask how the position for which you’re interviewing has evolved since its inception. That’s because the evolution of a job gives you an idea of your own potential for growth and promotion within the company without asking that question flat-out.
2. Should I get the position, what can I do to help you?
The experts at Farr Healthcare cite this as the top interview question, because it shows that you’re interested not only in your potential with the company, but also in your potential to make it a better place. There’s no shame in looking super-invested in your future possibilities. – Linda Farr, President, Farr Healthcare
3. What are the challenges faced in this job?
Most help-wanted ads won’t delve into the nitty-gritty of a position, so ask: What challenges can I expect to face? You’ll get a better idea of what a day in the life is like and whether or not it’s a good fit for your work style and ethic. And, if the interviewer says there aren’t any challenges to face, you should be wary of the position being too good to be true.
4. What new skills can I learn here?
There’s no such thing as the perfect candidate: every new employee will have to learn something new, no matter what position they’re filling. Therefore, it’s great to ask what you can draw from your new position. Interviewers will also get a sense of your humility and willingness to learn when they hear this question, too. – Brian Honigman, BrianHonigman.com
5. Why did the person before me leave?
On its face, this question might seem a bit intrusive, but it will provide you with valuable information about the company and position. If the former employee was promoted or moved to a better role in another company, you know there’s great potential. An unhappy former employee is just as telling.
6. What do you envision for the company’s future? How will this position fit in?
An ambitious employee is covetable, as is one with plans to stick around for a while and truly master the role. Posing this question will also show that you want to be part of whatever vision your potential employer has. – Jared Brown, Co-Founder, Hubstaff
7. What’s a normal day like here?
This is the closest you’ll get to working the job and finding out. Most times, your interviewer will give you a pretty true-to-life answer, so pay close attention: it could be a deciding factor as to whether or not you’ll take the position.
8. How did you get started?
This is an especially poignant question when posed to someone whose role you truly aspire to. You can find out what you’ll have to do in order to make your way up the company ladder, and asking the question shows you’re interested in following those footsteps. – Hannah Morgan, Career Sherpa
9. What’s your favorite thing about working here?
Clearly, you can see the importance of turning the interview around, becoming the interviewer yourself at some point. The person you’re talking to will be able to give you a glimpse of the perks and positives of your potential future job.
10. If you could change one thing about the company, what would that be?
Here’s another question that reminds your interviewer that you’re not the only one in the hot seat — interviews help both sides determine if the position’s a good fit. This question gives you a better idea of what the company is like in real life. Expect a telling answer that’ll help you make your decision, just as your answers will help them make theirs. – Peter Minton, Founder & President, Minton Law Group, P.C.
11. How do you measure success?
Every employer has to measure its employees’ success somehow, whether they’re working in sales, education, creative or accounting. Knowing the criteria early on helps you prep for your own promotion. It also helps you discover if your working style will gel with the company’s measure of success, which is very important in order to achieve that success.
12. What can I explain further to show I’m right for this role?
Interviews come with a burst of nerves, which means you’re probably talking more quickly than usual. The interviewer might’ve been confused by an answer or might’ve missed a few details, so give him or her the opportunity to ask again. In popping this question, you’re showing that you’re super eager to make it work and that you’re open to feedback right off the bat. – Dan Pickett, Co-Founder, Launch Academy
What questions have you asked in order to nail your interview? Let us know in the comments section below!
Sarah Landrum is a career expert and the founder of Punched Clocks. For more tips to accelerate your career, subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on social media. You can find her tweeting tips and articles @SarahLandrum