One of the worst mistakes you can make in an interview is not to ask questions. Most people know this, unfortunately simply asking a question for the sake of asking won’t score you bonus points with the interviewer; there are questions, and there are ‘good’ questions. A ‘good’ question strategically asked during an interview can put you ahead of everybody else who only asked mediocre questions. So what are some of the ‘good’ questions to ask during a job interview?
In one of our previous articles ‘How to ask good questions’, we explored what makes a ‘good’ question and techniques that can be applied to ask a ‘good’ question. Below are some example questions to ask the interviewer during job interviews. These questions are crafted using the techniques described in the article ‘How to ask good questions’. They embody all the elements of a ‘good’ question, i.e. insightful, gets the interviewer to tell a story, demonstrate curiosity and critical thinking on your part. Most importantly, they will give you an opportunity to ‘sell’ your suitability for the role, without covertly doing so.
What if I was to be successful in this role, what result would you hope to see me produce in the next 3-6 months? This question serves two purposes: 1) it puts the interviewers in the mind frame of seeing a future with you included; 2) it helps you to understand what they see as the immediate priorities of this role. Once you know this, you may further this conversation by giving a few examples where you’d achieved the same outcome or similar results in the 3-6 months timeframe.
What is the one thing that you see about me that makes you believe I can do the job? This question encourages the interviewer to verbalise your greatest strength and ‘fit’ for the job. It’s a subtle way of selling yourself without actually doing the sell.
What are your top 3 objectives for the team for the next 12 months? What are the challenges that you see stopping the team from achieving the 3 objectives? The point of the first question is to see how aspirational your new team is, and what priorities they are working on. It helps you understand where you fit in and where you can make the most significant contribution. The second part of this question tries to get into the head of the hiring manager, understanding what’s keeping them up at night. You may want to continue the conversation by talking about similar challenges you’d faced in previous roles and how you helped the team to overcome them.
What is your greatest concern of hiring someone like me for the job? This would be a bold question to ask, so use it when you feel the interview is largely going well and you think they are seriously considering you for the job. The point of this question is to tease out any remaining concerns they have with hiring you, so you may tactfully address them then and there.
Remember an interview is a two-way street: they’re assessing you, and you have the right to evaluate them as well. By asking ‘good’ question at an interview, not only does it demonstrate that you’ve applied critical thinking to the job and company, but the information you get from the interviewers will also help you assess if the company and the role is the right fit for you. So take this opportunity to find out as much as possible from the other side to help you make an informed decision.