Job interviews are stressful. No one likes to be judged and then passed over for something they really wanted, like a means to feed your family.
Giving the right answers, with the right resume, having the right personality, and wearing the right outfit won't always get you a job. But having the right question at the end of the interview, may keep you at the top of the list and set you apart from the rest of the candidates. This one question, or maybe two, is the icing on the cake.
At the end of the interview, you may be asked:
“Do you have any questions for me?”
Asking the employer a question shows that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. This gives them the impression that you are worth the trouble. Play hard to get, because you are worth it.
Here are some questions you might consider asking:
What is the single largest problem facing your staff?
You are showing the interviewer that you are the solution to their problem and also encouraging the interviewer to see you working in this position.
What is the most important quality I need to have to succeed in this position?
The answer to this question gives you a good idea of what the company values. Do they align with yours? See my post on Values in Leadership. This is a great open-ended question that will have the interviewer put his or her cards on the table and state exactly what the employer is looking for. If the interviewer mentions something you didn’t cover yet, now is your chance.
Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
I love this question because it’s gutsy. Also, you’ll show that you’re confident in your skills and abilities.
What are some of your favorite office traditions?
You are being interviewed by someone you will most likely work for or with. Ask a personal question asking for their opinion and show them you value their input. What is the culture of the work place like? The answer also lightens the mood and makes you memorable. People want to hire someone they want to work with.
How does your mission statement (Say it) come to fruition on a day to day basis?
State the mission statement of the company by memory and prove you have done your research. Show them you have looked into them and then ask them to back up their purpose. There is nothing wrong with putting your interviewer in the hot seat for a little bit.
Can you describe a recent stressful workday that you experienced?
Get a general idea about the not so good times and this will give you a clear indication how the culture of the workplace operates under pressure. You can also follow up with, “If you could do it over again, what would you have done differently?”
What would you expect your best performer to accomplish in 30 days?
Show them you are a results-oriented, goal driven employee that likes to be proficient in your work. If you are being interviewed by multiple people, it might be wise to ask every person this question.
Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
Notice how the question is phrased; it assumes you will get the job. This question also tells you about the people you will interact with on a daily basis, so listen to the answer closely.
When do I start?
This might be a little too straightforward, but the idea is good. A better question might be, “What is the next step in the process?” You’re confident, eager, and ready to start. They will remember this.
It is worth noting that you should pick one or two questions from the list above and not all of them. Exhausting your interviewers is a good way to not get the job. Gauge the room and ask appropriately.
Impress and gather intel – because with questions like these you will start your new job soon.