We previously talked about the best way to approach an interview and tackling the most difficult questions often asked. However, we have one final, but essential piece missing: The most effective and best questions to ask in an interview, which we’ll focus on in this last installment.
Having great questions ready prior to your interview show that you’ve taken initiative, done your homework, and you’re genuinely interested in working for the company.
To determine what you should ask, think about the types of questions that provoke even further conversation – those that will take your interview to the next level and set you apart from other candidates. What do you think your counterparts will ask? Avoid redundant questions that an interviewer might receive over and over again. You can gauge what these questions may look like by visiting your University’s career center and reading through their recommended “questions to ask” list. Just be sure to scrap it afterwards.
I tend to stick with 3-4 questions, but definitely no more than 5 if you must. Your questions should be specific and applicable to the job, the culture of the organization, and/or how you might fit in. With that said, here are my top 5 never-fail questions to ask:
1. What do you enjoy most about working here? What’s the worst part? (Variation: What do the individuals in this position find most rewarding about working here – or in their job? What do they struggle with most?)
2. What are the biggest challenges someone will face coming into this role? (Variation: What are the most important skills I need to bring in order to be successful in this position? What are the opportunities/challenges the company, or specific area/department, is facing currently and how can someone like myself come in and help?)
3. Find something specific to the company and ask about it – this could be related to a new product, service, growth, or phase. It will require you to do some research so get on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or social media and find out what’s up and coming. The question should be tailored to the job/position you’re interviewing for. Example: When I interviewed for my current role in merchandising, I knew E-commerce and mobile were huge initiatives across retailers so I asked specifically about what that process looked like, how it has impacted the business, and what kind of reach they’ve achieved.
4. What does growth look like in this position? (Variation: How do you reward performance and how often?)
5. When will I hear from you? (Other variations, if appropriate, include: How many candidates are being interviewed and how many will be selected? When will you make a final decision? What is the next step for me in this process?) – I only recommend asking something along these lines if you felt strongly about how the interview went.