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Questions to Ask an Interviewer

Author: Frederick Pasco

There are a lot of things that can make or break a job candidacy but not asking questions or asking the wrong ones can leave an interviewer with the impression that you’re not interested or not interesting enough. A great candidate will have a set of questions prepared before their interview that they can ask which serve to:

  1. Learn more about the company

  2. Discover challenges you might face

  3. Explore your future with the company.

I have had many interviews that I felt were in trouble that have been saved by asking the right question at the right time. When you’re asking a question, you’re opening up a conversation—you’re building rapport with your interviewer. When you make this connection, the interviewer might look at you in a different light.

Here are some questions to consider asking in your next interview:

  • What are the challenges that someone in this position will face?

You want to let them know that you know there will be challenges when you start but also that you are adept at navigating challenges and that you will be proactive and prepare for the trials ahead.

  • How will I put myself in a position to succeed in this role?

This question, like the previous one, pre-supposes that you have gotten the position. You want to think ahead but stay grounded to what is currently happening. This gives them the idea that you’re keen to know what kind of things that the person in this position will need to do in order to be successful.

  • Are there things that you need clarity on?

Interviewers generally have a set list of questions that they ask candidates but sometimes during this process, you will say something that leaves them with questions. You want to ensure that they've gotten the answers they need to make a decision on your candidacy, so ask them again if they have the entire picture or they need something more from you.

  • Is there anyone else in the company you think I should speak to that might have questions for me?

Hiring is a process, and a slow one at best. It starts when constructing the job description and doesn't end until onboarding. Depending on the company, there might be 2 rounds of interviews, or even more, that must be completed. A company is unlikely to take you up on this offer but asking is a nice gesture that shows you want to help speed the hiring process as well as demonstrating your commitment to fitting into the comapny culture.

  • Is there anything I've said today, or anything you've noticed in my resume or application, that would prohibit me from moving forward in the process?

This is a personal favorite of mine. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time or your efforts on following up for the next step so this question implies that you are proactive in dealing with some of the problems that they might see in your candidacy. This also gives you the stage to clarify things that they mentioned that is not helping you. Plus it gives you information that you can use to improve your chances for the next interview.

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