Asking Good Questions During an Interview

Getting into the habit of formulating meaningful questions will benefit you throughout your career. The ability to ask good questions speaks to your problem solving and analysis skills. You can be sure that your interviewer will evaluate how you respond to information revealed during an interview. Employers will be looking, in particular, at how you handle the end of the interview, when you are given the opportunity to ask questions about the position and organization.

Whether you ask about company culture, specifics about the position, additional mobility options within the company, how the company handles certain policies, etc., it says a lot about you. Come prepared. The interviewer will form an opinion about your critical thinking and even your interest in the job by what you say during this time.

Before walking into an interview, be sure to outline anything you may not understand, whether that pertains to the position or the company. The interview is a wonderful tool to get a feel for the organization. Use this to your advantage! Asking open-ended questions will grant you more information than questions that warrant yes/no answers. Remember to stay calm and focus on one topic at a time; a good interviewer will appreciate that you want to learn during your time together. Making sure you understand the job and the day-to-day required duties can help you decide if this position would be the right fit. Asking the difficult questions now could save everyone time and stress later.

During the interview, if there is anything that you do not fully understand about the position or company, take a mental note. If there is a break in the conversation or if it is an appropriate time to ask, do so. Otherwise, save the question until the end of the interview.

Sometimes the interviewer may inadvertently answer questions that you planned to ask at the end of the interview while they are talking about the position or the company. It is okay to say that they did a great job of answering questions that you had about this topic and this topic, etc. However, you should ask at least two other questions to solidify your interest and ability to adapt under pressure. One of these questions should be, “What are the next steps in the application process?” By asking this question, you will come away with a clear understanding of how to proceed and what to expect after the interview is over. The other question should be something you come up with on your own. If you are struggling with what you else you could ask, take a look at a few suggestions below to get started:

How would you describe the company culture?

What are the expectations for this role?

What would a typical day look like in this position? What are the daily job duties?

What qualities are required to succeed in this position?

Depending on who your interviewer is: What do you like most about working for this company?

Keeping the examples above in mind, coming up with a question or two is quite doable. With a few good questions, any potential employer will be convinced that you are not only interested and informed, but also a good asymmetrical thinker.

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