Don’t Lose the Job Because You Didn’t Ask Good Interview Questions

Posted by Rob Riggins

Interview QuestionsJob search protocol is shifting and as an interviewee part of your mission is to ask good questions of the potential employer. You need to be prepared to take advantage of this opportunity to gauge if the position and the company will be a good fit. Insightful questions not only give you a glimpse into the organization, but indicate to the hiring manager that you are an active participant in the process and that you have a true interest in moving forward.

In today’s cleared job market, it’s important not only to practice answers to questions you might be asked, but to think through the questions you would like answered. You need to be prepared when the interviewer says, “Do you have any questions for me?”

It’s important to end strong and this is a terrific opportunity to set yourself apart from other candidates. While most interviewees will be qualified, thoughtful questions will make you the candidate that stands out.

Consider these options:

Do you see my skills and experience in line with your ideal candidate?

If the interviewer has any reservations about your qualifications, now is the time to clear up any concerns. By knowing where the bar is set you can fill in any gaps in your resume or skill set.

Are there opportunities for advancement?

It’s normal not to want to remain in the same position throughout your cleared career. If you have a career path in mind, make sure this role or contract offers the advancement opportunities you desire. Does the company have other contracts that you may be suitable for in the future?

How will this position make a contribution to the mission?

Cleared job seekers are looking for a job where they can make a significant contribution. Ask tough questions to find out if your role will allow you to make an impact on the department, the company, the agency and the mission.

What does a typical day look like in this role?

Will you be sitting at a desk all day? Would you have interaction with other departments? Does this position offer a leadership role? A team environment? Travel? Skill advancement? Know what is important to you and be prepared to ask questions that will uncover if these elements will be part of your routine.

How would you define success for someone in this role?

A hiring manager will be focusing on a candidate’s skills, but as the candidate it’s important to understand expectations. This is especially true if the position is newly created. Inquire about benchmarks for 30 days, 90 days and one year on the job to get a good understanding of what you will be expected of you in your first year.

Along with these job specific questions, it is also important to get a solid understanding of the company culture. Here are four behavioral types of questions you can ask to get a glimpse of the working environment.

Ask the interviewer to talk about what makes their job hard

  • Tell me about a challenge you currently are facing in your role.
  • How does the company assist you in tackling this challenge?

All employees will have challenges on the job so this will not be a dead-end question. Your goal is to gain insight on resources that are in place. Asking will help to identify any red flags early in the interview process.

Inquire about a high point

  • What does a good day look like for you?
  • Tell me about an achievement here you are most proud of.

This inquiry is a good follow up to the previous questions. It’s important to understand what excites current employees. It can indicate what to expect if you join the company.

Also, because most people like relaying their successes, it’ll keep the conversation moving in a positive direction—which is what you want to do in an interview.

Ask about their personal connection to the company

  • What attracted you to your role here?
  • How do you feel your work furthers the mission?

Every organization will have some form of company mission or vision. This question should get into how the interviewer understands it and how their work is impacted on a daily basis. It will help you identify how the company meets its goals and should offer a peek into how engaged the employees feel.

 Ask about their colleagues

  • Tell me about someone you admire in your company and why.
  • Give me some examples of things the team does together.

Most professionals in the cleared community desire a mentor or at least someone to look up to. The first inquiry should give you a better sense of leaders in the company along with their capabilities.

The second one will offer a peek into the company culture. Does the interviewer talk about team projects and end it there? Or are there examples of team lunches and social outings? You will spend a lot of your life with co-workers so it’s important to understand how they interact.

It doesn’t matter so much how you word your questions as long as you’re clear, but rather about gaining insight into the company, their employees and your possible role. Ask the questions where you truly want to know the answer – your sincerity and interest will shine through. You want to walk away from the interview knowing as much as possible about the opportunity and the company. You also want to leave the hiring manager with a strong impression of your thoughtfulness and interest in the position.


This entry was posted on Thursday, July 26, 2018 6:46 am

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