Probably the question I get asked the most when doing interview coaching is what questions to ask in an interview (by the way, I am currently accepting 30 minute Interview Coaching Calls..reach out to me for details). Many people struggle with this. They are so fearful of asking the wrong questions that many times they end up asking no questions at all. This is a bad choice. When a hiring manager is winding down the job interview, they will always ask: “Do you have any questions that you would like to ask me?” Most candidates take this as a rhetorical question and mistakingly think that the interviewer is just wanting to end the interview, but that is often not the case.
When you do not have any questions ready, you come across as disinterested or not very involved. That is the signal that you send. You always want to leave a good impression and you want them to think that you are very interested in the position. At the same time, too many questions is a bad thing as well. You can come across as too aggressive which is bad too. I always recommend that candidates have at least 3 good questions to ask in a interview and each question should have a specific purpose.
1. Questions that uncover the “Hot Buttons”. If you have read my blog posts for any length of time, then you know my thoughts on what I call “hot buttons.” Essentially, I began to notice in my recruiting efforts that every open position has hot buttons. These are specific skills sets that employers need that are almost always not seen in the job description. A great way to ask this question is to say, “If I were to be hired for the position, what would be the top 2 or 3 most pressing priorities that I could start on day 1?” Then listen closely because you are about to learn the top 2 o3 reasons as to why they are going to hire you.
2. Questions that reveal the culture. Another great question to ask at an interview should reveal the company culture. You see, it is not enough that you can do the job. The hiring manager is asking a nagging question in their mind: “What you be a good fit for the current team and their personalities?” Just by asking a simple question about the company culture and dynamic you will be able to better understand what you are up against.
3. Questions that reveal the company goals. You also have to prove to the interviewer that you are heading in the same direction as the company. Simply ask them what are some of the short term and long term company goals that they want to accomplish in the next few years. If it is a large company then ask about department goals. If you can paint a picture to them of you being a part of that team, then you have a greater chance of getting hired.
To me these are the most important questions to ask in an interview. You will walk away from the interview and convince the hiring manager that you are solutions oriented, team player that is heading in the same direction as the company. That is huge! Take this advice and make it happen in your next job interview.