Job interviews, for most people, feel like a one-sided conversation. A question and answer, where you’re expected to behave and put your best foot forward. Yes, definitely do that if you want to be as memorable as every other candidate on the planet.
If you want to stand out, you have to do what majority of candidates don’t do…
It might seem wrong, impolite even. But asking thoughtful, relevant questions help interviewers remember you more. Plus, the right questions can help you evaluate whether the job is really right for you.
Before you start firing questions, however, you should first research the culture of the company and the interviewer’s personality. Phrase your questions in a positive way. You don’t want to come off as an aggressive negotiator.
6 Questions to Ask in Job Interviews
- “Do you have opportunities for personal training, or other career advancement certifications?”
What it means: You’re eager to improve yourself by learning more. You’re highly trainable and possibly willing to explore other parts of the business. You have a “can-do” attitude.
- “What’s the #1 challenge in this job?”
What it means: Asking this question means you’re a problem solver, especially if you can present a feasible solution to their problem. If nothing else, you’ll at least come off as someone genuinely interested in helping.
- “Can you describe a typical working day for (job title)?”
What it means: This question isn’t meant to impress, it’s meant to give you a better overview of the company’s culture and work process. It’s also a great way to gauge political red tape, chain of command, and the possibility of overtime.
- “What’s the next step in the application process?”
What it means: This question shows you’re eager to work with them. Depending on the interviewer’s answer, sometimes you can gauge if you’re going to be endorsed for the next step.
- “What sets your company apart from (name of competitor)?
What it means: Naming their competitors shows you did your research before waltzing into the interview. Don’t ask this question if you don’t know the answer yourself, because it could backfire on you.
- “If I get hired, what do I need to accomplish in my first three months to confirm you hired the right person?”
What it means: This question has two benefits: First, to confirm the job description and management’s expectations. If it’s too far off from their ads, you might want to rethink your application or consider negotiating a higher pay. Second, it sets you up as someone who delivers results, not just an employee doing the bare minimum to earn their paycheck.
This list is anything but complete. There are so many other questions you can ask during an interview, especially if you consider long-term career growth.
Try coming up with questions yourself. Asking the right question makes you a more engaging, memorable, and interesting applicant for the interviewer. The only litmus test to worry about is if your question is out of self-interest or the company’s interest.