An interview is a two-way conversation. Employers are interested in learning whether you would be a good fit for the team, and you should also be thinking about whether the job is the right fit for your long-term needs. An important part of an interview is the opportunity for candidates to ask the hiring manager questions about the company, the position, and the team. Here are some ideas to make sure you engage the interviewer and ask the right questions.
Start With What It Take to be Successful?
This question is a great one to start off with because it will tell you a lot about what the hiring manager expects from the candidate. It also gives you the opportunity to sell yourself specifically toward their needs and expectations. If the manager says that a successful person in this position needs to be able to achieve results or use specific skills, take the chance to speak to your previous successes relevant to the conversation. Show the interviewer how you are capable of achieving success in similar situations.
An interview is a perfect time for candidates to get clarity on topics or responsibilities that are vague or unclear as presented in the job description. Also feel empowered to ask questions about current events, the growth of the company, the corporate culture and other elements that may impact your perception of the opportunity. The most important thing is to inspire good conversation. Ask “ice-breaker” style questions that get the interviewer talking and then really listen to the answers. Engage them as much as possible in a quality conversation that leaves both parties feeling like they connected after the interview is over. The specifics will vary from job to job but it’s that engagement that will make a lasting impression on your career.
While having questions for your interviewer is always a good idea, try to steer clear of any template or canned questions. You want to sound like you put some thought into the questions you have prepared. This can be done by looking back through the job description or researching a little about the company’s latest projects or news items to help you prepare your list. Also, don’t bother asking questions that you have already been told the answer to earlier in the interview. This shows that you weren’t paying attention, a mark against you particularly in the high-pressure environment of an interview. Impressions are everything in this situation so strive for an intelligent and engaged list of questions that give your interviewer the chance to showcase the opportunity and help you better understand how you can meet the needs of the company.
Make a Connection
Even if you don’t get the job, an interview is a perfect opportunity to make a new connection. The conversations you have and the impression you make with the interviewer can help you connect with other employers if this particular job doesn’t pan out. So put your best foot forward and really dig into the conversation to see where it leads.