What About Me!! Three Questions You Should ALWAYS Ask in An Interview
“What About Me!! Three Questions You Should ALWAYS Ask in An Interview”
By: Shawna Simcik
There is a lot of advice in a job search about how to answer and address company questions with ease during an interview, but what about you! Having a great list of your own questions is the first step to separating yourself from the competition. This doesn’t mean playing “stump the interviewer” with difficult questions, but being present in the conversation and asking intelligent questions that are relevant to the conversation – not scripted. Here are three examples of when you should ask questions in an interview.
Tell a Story, Then Ask a Question: As the interviewer asks a question, be prepared with a quick, positive story of the challenge you faced, the action you took and the result of you taking these actions, then position a question to the interviewer. “Did that answer your question?” “Would you like more information about that challenge or the results?” You can even ask your question and relate it to something you are extremely proud of regarding your accomplishment or work history. For example, “I loved that my previous company offered a mentor program. When I first started in my career I benefited greatly from one-on-one interaction with a mentor. As I became more seasoned, I was surprised at how much I continued to learn from my mentee once I became the menor. Does this company have any programs that mirror development like this?” If so, follow up with, “What are the requirements to participate?”
Don’t Assume but Clarify Your Research: As you prepare for an interview and you are researching – don’t just look at the company’s website; dig deeper. Find a “pain” within the organization and prepare by researching a possible solution to that problem. Coming prepared with detailed research and a possible solution that you could support will demonstrate your willingness to be a team player and show that you care about the wellness of the organization. This simple step will set you ahead of many candidates whom only regurgitate the company website. With all this research though, we know that you can’t always believe what you read on the internet, so ask a question for clarification – don’t make assumptions. “I read online that your company recently reported less than stellar quarterly reports. Is this correct? Can you tell me more about the financial position and the strategy to overcome these attributions?” Follow up with, “Are other competitors within the industry faced with this similar issue?”
Next Steps and Permission to Pester: This is the most overlooked step in an interview. As you are approaching the end of an interview, you must always ask a few questions. Be bold to ask “Do you have any hesitation about my qualifications?” Use this question to address any concerns or objectives that may not have been clear in the interview or remain lingering in the interviewer’s mind. If their concern is a weakness of yours, then you can highlight another example of how you have overcome this weakness in previous positions. At the end of the interview, always express your enthusiasm for the opportunity and ask, “What are the next steps?” Thank them for their time and the opportunity to learn about their business. Not only should you ask what the next steps are – get permission to pester them. Tenacity and persistence will serve you well – with a layer of permission. For example, if the interviewer says, “we will let you know by next week.” Ask for their permission to follow up. “If I don’t hear from you by Wednesday, could I call you and simply check in?” This allows you to pester them, but demonstrates persistence, tenacity and enthusiasm. These are all characteristics that benefit the job seeker and separate you from the competition.
These are only three examples of when you should ask questions in an interview. What questions have you asked that you have found to be valuable? What would you add to this list? We would love to hear your contributions.