Asking thoughtful questions leads to job offers.

Posted by on Feb 19, 2010 in Career Advice | 2 comments

It’s an exceptionally hard time to be looking for job or undergoing a job change, and being contacted for an interview is a great boon. I am fortunate to have skills that continue to be needed by employers. My skills and experience have resulted in interviews, and receiving a job offer is the result of good interviewing skills.

Asking questions in your interview is as important as answering them. The questions you ask a potential employer reflect your professionalism, preparedness, motivation, expectations and thoughtfulness.

When I’m interviewing candidates to fill an opening at my employer, I absolutely want the candidate to show they are bright, prepared, and are a good fit for the job. With so many job seekers vying for the same positions, it’s more important than ever that candidates send the right message to employers when interviewing. And the right message is, “I have the skills and ability to do this job, and the attitude to get the job done.”

When preparing for the interview, I consider the company and the specifics of the position, and write down my questions which I bring with me to the interview. I bring a list of 8-10 questions, as some of my questions may be indirectly answered during the course of the interview and I want to have some questions to ask directly.

When you think about what questions to ask, think about what is important to you. Is it the company environment, the daily activities of the job, opportunity for advancement? Ask questions that relate to your career goals and needs.

Here is a list of questions I like to ask in an interview.

Company Culture Questions
What are the company’s goals for the next 5 years?

What makes “Company Name” a great company to work for?

What do you like best about working for “Company Name”?

How would you describe your management style/ the management style at “Company Name”?

Position Specific Questions
Why is this position open?

What skills and qualifications will the right candidate possess?

What goals do you have for the candidate you hire in this role?

What challenges do you see for the person you hire?

Describe a typical day for a “Job Title” at “Company Name”.

My salary range is “Salary Amount” to “Salary Amount”. Is this in line with the salary range for the position?

Hiring Questions
What is your most important consideration in hiring for this position?

What could happen in the interview that would cause you to disqualify a candidate from consideration?

How many interviews are scheduled to fill this opening?

When will you be making a decision?

May I have your contact information and follow-up with you?

When asking your questions, consider using this opportunity to bring up any skills and experience you haven’t already mentioned that applies to the position. Use the interviewer’s answers to get a better understanding of what they are looking for, and if you match their desired qualifications, let the interviewer know!

For example, you ask, “what is your most important consideration in hiring for this position?” Your interviewer responds, “we’re looking for someone who has the skill set and the attitude needed to get the job done.” You can counter his/her answer with an appropriate response such as, “You can see from my resume that I have the skill set you’re looking for, and I am dedicated and motivated.”

Ask thoughtful, intelligent questions in your interview and improve your chances of getting a job offer.

2 Comments

  1. This is excellent advice! I used to work as a mortgage broker and would hire loan officers. Even though they worked on a commission only basis, I would still interview them. After all I would be training them and I wanted them to be serious about learning the trade (if they had no experience, which was common).

    I loved it when they would ask me questions. It showed life! Interest! That is so important in a new employee.

    • Thanks for your comment, Laura! Finding a good fit is the most important factor I consider when hiring for a position. Many skills and experience can be learned on the job, and finding a candidate with enthusiasm and professionalism can’t be trained.

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