Interview Questions You Can Ask – Generic and Specific

A few years ago, I wrote an article about questions that job candidates can ask interviewers. The piece received very positive response, so I decided to update it and share a new tip to make your interviews even more successful. The most important interview questions might be the ones YOU ask. It’s very important for you to ask questions of the interviewer and to take notes throughout the meeting (which will help you to formulate your questions). When an interviewer asks, “So, do you have any questions for me?”, the worst thing you could possibly say is “Nope.” In some cases, you’ll be judged more on the questions you’re asking than the answers you’re giving!

After all, you’re hoping to work for the individual who is interviewing you, so you must try to find out as much as you can about how he or she works, thinks and communicates. Additionally, asking smart questions will help you sound like an articulate, savvy business professional. You’ll seem well-prepared and genuinely interested in working for the organization.

Below are some examples of questions that you can ask the interviewer. Feel free to come-up with more of your own:

  • * Can you give me more detail about the position’s responsibilities?
  • Where do you see this position going in the next few years?
  • What are a few significant things you would want me to accomplish in my first three months?
  • How often has this position been filled in the past two to five years?
  • What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this position?
  • How can I most quickly become a strong contributor within the organization?
  • How will my performance be evaluated, by whom, and at what frequency?
  • What are the most challenging aspects of the job for which I am being considered?
  • How are loyalty and hard work rewarded at this organization?
  • How would you describe your own management style?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of my prospective subordinates, as you see them?
  • With whom will I be interacting most frequently, and what are their responsibilities?
  • What would the limits of my authority and responsibility be?
  • What particular things about my background and experience interest you?
  • What makes you think I’ll be successful?
  • What freedoms would I have and what budget would be available to me for: (a) changes in staffing, promotion, salary increases; (b) use of consultants, requesting or purchasing software and hardware, capital for new ideas and approaches; (c) changes within my area regarding policies, procedures, practices, performance and expectations?
  • How do you like your staff to communicate with you? (orally, in writing, informally, in meetings, by phone, voicemail, e-mail, only when necessary?)
  • What are some of your longer-term objectives for the department?
  • Why did you join this company? Why have you stayed?
  • Now that you understand my professional background, do you have any concerns that might prevent you from seriously considering me as a candidate? If so, would you please share them with me now, so that I may respond?
  • Where are you in the hiring process? What’s our next step?
  • If I don’t hear from you within (time period), would it be OK to contact you? Would you prefer an e-mail or phone call?

Here’s the new tip that I mentioned above, which a client recently mentioned to me.

Job Interview First Impression DO NOTs

When you go to an interview, bring a list of “generic questions” that you always like to ask employers (approximately five to eight of them). These questions can be taken from the selection above, or from other sources. List them at the top of your sheet. Just below this group of questions, draw a line across the page and leave space for another group of questions in the bottom half of your sheet. These will be your “specific questions,” which will obviously change according to the details of each company, job and interviewer. Of course, this second group of questions will be based on your extensive research about the particular opportunity. This tactic may seem extremely simple, but my client told me how effective it had been for her at multiple interviews!

Prepare thoroughly for your interviews by studying and practicing both your answers and your questions. The time you invest in this process will definitely pay-off with more – and better – job offers!

Copyright © Career Potential, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a nationally-known Career Expert and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.”

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