How To: Ask These Questions to Improve Your Next Job Interview

Ask These Questions to Improve Your Next Job Interview

Job interview success can be a difficult thing to measure. Is confidence a job-winning trait? Or were the interviewer's questions not answered as fully as they had hoped? Maybe you weren't sure how your big, happy smile went over with such a formal setting.

While there is a great wealth of advice on how to win over a potential employer, there is one tip that nearly everyone recommends: ask questions. You do, however, want to be sure to ask the right questions to secure that job of your dreams.

Yes, There Are Stupid Questions

Admit it: you've ended an interview or two with the stock, "Oh, nothing I can think of at this moment" response when your interviewer asks if you have anything you'd like to ask. As easy as this go-to statement seems in the moment, it's better to ask one question than pass off the opportunity to get a bit more time with your possible future boss. Yet not all questions are good ones—you want to ensure you ask the "right" kind of question.

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What makes for a good question? According to Joe Konop, a Forbes contributor, interviewers allow you the opportunity to ask questions because they want to see how qualified you are—and how interested you are in working for their company. Konop notes that a "good' question does one of three things: it makes the interviewer feel confident in your potential as an employee, shows your interest in working for them, and gives you a bit more insight to see if this position is a good fit for you and your needs.

This means that your questions shouldn't focus solely on your amazing abilities, or how awesome you would be for the position at hand. Instead, you want to discover how well you'll fit into this new environment and show your desire to work there. Of course, before you begin begging your interviewer for the role, there are a few examples that capture all of this in just one or two questions.

Make Your Questions Future-Oriented

Companies want to know that their newest hires are driven, motivated, and ready to succeed in their new role—but there's only so many ways you can express this in examples of your previous challenges and positions. Instead, take the opportunity to ask questions as a chance to show how you're already thinking of your future with them.

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An infographic from Braindeeds suggests asking the following: How will I be evaluated during my first three months? This question shows that you're not only thinking ahead, but interested in receiving feedback so that you can improve your performance in your new position. It acknowledges that there will be a learning curve, but also indicates that you can't wait to get started on a career that will last longer than just a few months.

Braindeed and Konop also recommend asking "What are the next steps?" This allows you to reveal that you're ready to jump on this new job, and excited to get started. You sound as though you've already won the position—which shows how your confidence can get things done in a nice, subtle manner. With this question, the interviewer knows that you're serious about seeing the process through.

Discover the Inside Scoop

Have you ever entered a new job only to discover that there are quite a few challenges and problems with your position, title, or responsibilities? No one enjoys finding out from new coworkers that they've stepped into an impossible, unwanted, or overwhelming role—so find out the backstory of your potential new job with one question before you sign the contract.

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Both sources suggest asking your interviewer the following: "Why is this position vacant?" When you pose this question, you're asking for specifics as to why the last employee quit. This presents the interviewer a chance to be honest, and to let you know a bit more about what type of personality, skill, and dedication the job will require of you. Of course, the replies aren't always negative—you might be the first to hold such a role, new due to company demand. If you don't like the answer given, it helps you to get a better read on whether the role is a fit for you.

Get to Know the Company

We've all worked for organizations that weren't exactly as they seemed—and while at times, this can be a positive, it is often disheartening. Though a Google search of your potential employer can reveal some things, the interview is your chance to get more of an inside scoop as to what your new workplace environment will really be like.

Braindeed and Konop both recommend asking "What do you like most about working for this company?" in some form. As someone who has personally used this line in interviews, it's one that surprises many. Chances are, your interviewer is quite prepared to answer generic questions about the company, but is somewhat surprised when asked a personal question. This not only give them a chance to share something meaningful and insightful, but also tells you what it is they value about their work.

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Another strong question is, "Why do you think job applicants choose to work here rather than your competitor?" This question might seem forward, but that's exactly its magic. It offers your potential employer to a chance to not only extol the company's virtues, but also allows you a bit of insight regarding their competition. What is it that they have to offer you, and how are they an excellent employer?

Whether you choose to ask these suggested questions verbatim, or make yours up on the fly, keep in mind the three goals of asking. To find a job you love, you want to know as much as possible—and to win over an interviewer, you want to show your interest in every possible way. So go ahead, kill it in your next interview!

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