Three Questions To Ask During an Interview

We’ve all seen variations on the list of common questions interviewers ask, but how much have you thought about what questions you should ask a potential employer? The best interviews are really conversations, as well they should be. You want to know if the position is the right fit – just as much as the company does. After all, the work you do makes up a good portion of your waking hours, so the company, and the team, you may join has to meet some of your basic needs.

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Here are a few seed questions that can reveal facets of the position and the company you might not get otherwise.

Why did the last person leave this position?

This will tell you a lot about the dynamics of the company. Is the job vacant due to a promotion? Great. That means there’s room for advancement. Did the person get fired? That calls for additional probing to figure out what caused the company to take such drastic action. Is this a new position? Great again. That means growth, but also calls for more probing to see if it’s smart growth, or the kind that will have you out of a job in three months.

Can you describe what my first day, week, and month look like?

This will tell you how far they’ve thought though your onboarding process. Is it sink or swim, or do they have a reasonable plan with some mentoring? It can also give you a clue as to what to expect at first, and what their expectations are for your coming up to speed. Also, phrasing the question as if you are already the selected candidate can’t hurt in the neuro linguistic programming department.

Can you describe the ideal candidate for this position?

This is a good one because rather than all the “who are you and what have you done” stuff of interviews, they’ll have to tell you exactly what they want. Then, in your closing statement, you can use the information to create the narrative of you as that exact person.

In addition to those three mainstays, make sure you hit the potential employer’s Web site before the interview. That research will usually help you come up with additional questions to ask.

Comments

25 Responses to “Three Questions To Ask During an Interview”

January 28, 2010 at 2:13 am, jars said:

Given the current state of the economy, I am not sure if it would be prudent to ask these three questions. They are good questions, although I am not convinced that this is the best economic time to ask them. Just a thought.

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January 28, 2010 at 2:13 am, jars said:

Given the current state of the economy, I am not sure if it would be prudent to ask these three questions. They are good questions, although I am not convinced that this is the best economic time to ask them. Just a thought.

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January 28, 2010 at 7:47 am, Jeff said:

I can hardly recognize Cat with her clothes on??? I will never forget how inappropriate it is that she did some of these BUSINESS vids nearly naked in a bikinni. How goofy is that? I guess it was suppose to be like “the Naked News”?

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January 28, 2010 at 7:47 am, Jeff said:

I can hardly recognize Cat with her clothes on??? I will never forget how inappropriate it is that she did some of these BUSINESS vids nearly naked in a bikinni. How goofy is that? I guess it was suppose to be like “the Naked News”?

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January 29, 2010 at 12:07 am, Greg Bell said:

It is the wrong time to ask these questions, 1st go on line and find out all the info that you can about the company. This gives the hiring manager an idea that you are really interested in the company, and ask questions based on this. 2nd tell them why you are the best candidate and then ask if the company can provide any additional training, if needed. 3rd and most important, ask if you can have a plant or company tour.
This showes that you want to know more about the company and are interested, it will also show you how many and what type of people work there. Don`t forget
to check out the parking lot as to how many cars or trucks and what kind. If the interview is going real good, you might ask the pay rate, if unknown, but never try to intimidate the manager, and go dressed
to fit the job, and watch your posture as they will be watching that also. Don`t forget when it`s time and offered, a firm hand shake makes a good impression.

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January 29, 2010 at 12:07 am, Greg Bell said:

It is the wrong time to ask these questions, 1st go on line and find out all the info that you can about the company. This gives the hiring manager an idea that you are really interested in the company, and ask questions based on this. 2nd tell them why you are the best candidate and then ask if the company can provide any additional training, if needed. 3rd and most important, ask if you can have a plant or company tour.
This showes that you want to know more about the company and are interested, it will also show you how many and what type of people work there. Don`t forget
to check out the parking lot as to how many cars or trucks and what kind. If the interview is going real good, you might ask the pay rate, if unknown, but never try to intimidate the manager, and go dressed
to fit the job, and watch your posture as they will be watching that also. Don`t forget when it`s time and offered, a firm hand shake makes a good impression.

Reply

January 29, 2010 at 12:08 am, Sharon said:

I’d recommend revising the questions a bit as they could easily put off a potential hiring manager. Here are my suggestions:

1. Instead of asking why the last person left, it would be better to ask: “Why does this opening exist?” Same question but less likely to intimidate the hiring manager.

2. Another good question but why not be direct and simply ask: “What is your company’s process for onboarding new employees?”

3. Once again, this could put the hiring manager on the spot. Suggest that the question be rephrased as: What do you see as the key challenges for the holder of this position and what skills would I need to acquire to overcome any obstacles?

Another good question for a potential hiring manager is: Where do you see this position in three to four years? This tells the candidate whether or not there is growth potential in the position.

Reply

January 29, 2010 at 12:08 am, Sharon said:

I’d recommend revising the questions a bit as they could easily put off a potential hiring manager. Here are my suggestions:

1. Instead of asking why the last person left, it would be better to ask: “Why does this opening exist?” Same question but less likely to intimidate the hiring manager.

2. Another good question but why not be direct and simply ask: “What is your company’s process for onboarding new employees?”

3. Once again, this could put the hiring manager on the spot. Suggest that the question be rephrased as: What do you see as the key challenges for the holder of this position and what skills would I need to acquire to overcome any obstacles?

Another good question for a potential hiring manager is: Where do you see this position in three to four years? This tells the candidate whether or not there is growth potential in the position.

Reply

January 29, 2010 at 12:25 am, Jera said:

Greg, you had some good points, but why check out the parking lot? One employee may be living beyond their means with tons or credit (or have a well off spouce) and drive a BMW. Another employee may be driving a rusty 86 Chevy when they are capable of affording more. Just a thought. And what do you mean about “what type of people work there?”

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January 29, 2010 at 12:25 am, Jera said:

Greg, you had some good points, but why check out the parking lot? One employee may be living beyond their means with tons or credit (or have a well off spouce) and drive a BMW. Another employee may be driving a rusty 86 Chevy when they are capable of affording more. Just a thought. And what do you mean about “what type of people work there?”

Reply

January 29, 2010 at 11:14 am, Tim said:

Yeah Jeff, but at least you apparently actually WATCHED said videos. Ahem.

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January 29, 2010 at 11:14 am, Tim said:

Yeah Jeff, but at least you apparently actually WATCHED said videos. Ahem.

Reply

January 30, 2010 at 1:58 am, SirPlush said:

1-If her advice is good and helps…it doesn’t matter what she wears….she’s not the one going on a job interview.

2-Each interview session is different. These questions are actually good – you have to know how and when to use them as 1 out of the 3 questions might not be appropriate. Employers want to hear you ask questions.

3-Perception is key. So if you drove to work in a Ferrari – -your coworkers will look at you different (good or bad). They might admire you and want to get to know you. Or they might say to themselves, why don’t we get someone else that really needs the job – – someone who doesn’t flaunt or have money to waste in this economy. Its perception and it plays a role no matter what you think. Also note: I’ve worked with a lot of millionaire’s and a bunch like to drive basic looking cars – – but to each his/her own. If you can do a job well and can carry yourself well – -then let it show<—that is what really matters.

Reply

January 30, 2010 at 1:58 am, SirPlush said:

1-If her advice is good and helps…it doesn’t matter what she wears….she’s not the one going on a job interview.

2-Each interview session is different. These questions are actually good – you have to know how and when to use them as 1 out of the 3 questions might not be appropriate. Employers want to hear you ask questions.

3-Perception is key. So if you drove to work in a Ferrari – -your coworkers will look at you different (good or bad). They might admire you and want to get to know you. Or they might say to themselves, why don’t we get someone else that really needs the job – – someone who doesn’t flaunt or have money to waste in this economy. Its perception and it plays a role no matter what you think. Also note: I’ve worked with a lot of millionaire’s and a bunch like to drive basic looking cars – – but to each his/her own. If you can do a job well and can carry yourself well – -then let it show<—that is what really matters.

Reply

February 03, 2010 at 2:27 am, dmr said:

I decided to ask these questions in my own way on an interview yesterday. I waited until the end when I was asked if I had any questions. You may get the answers during the interview for these questions so you may want to wait. But time and place are relevant in choosing whether to ask these questions and/or which ones apply. I will agree with that. The interviewer did not hesitate or seem uncomfortable in answering the questions I asked which were very similar to the 3 mentioned.

Reply

February 03, 2010 at 2:27 am, dmr said:

I decided to ask these questions in my own way on an interview yesterday. I waited until the end when I was asked if I had any questions. You may get the answers during the interview for these questions so you may want to wait. But time and place are relevant in choosing whether to ask these questions and/or which ones apply. I will agree with that. The interviewer did not hesitate or seem uncomfortable in answering the questions I asked which were very similar to the 3 mentioned.

Reply

October 14, 2010 at 2:56 am, Bill B Blair said:

Appriciate the reminders, the three questions at the end will be helpful.

2

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October 14, 2010 at 2:56 am, Bill B Blair said:

Appriciate the reminders, the three questions at the end will be helpful.

2

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October 15, 2010 at 9:02 am, Seth Miller said:

Greg, NEVER even mention money in the interview. That will get you to the bottom of the list pretty quick.

I don’t see any problem with these questions unless you’re desperate and you are begging for the job, but I don’t think the article is geared towards professionals who are desperate. I would feel very comfortable asking these questions and plan to in my next interview.

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October 15, 2010 at 9:02 am, Seth Miller said:

Greg, NEVER even mention money in the interview. That will get you to the bottom of the list pretty quick.

I don’t see any problem with these questions unless you’re desperate and you are begging for the job, but I don’t think the article is geared towards professionals who are desperate. I would feel very comfortable asking these questions and plan to in my next interview.

Reply

October 19, 2010 at 1:19 am, Tugume joe said:

Am so glad i subscribed to this, am always getting the best tips . Thanks alot and keep up the good work.

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October 19, 2010 at 1:19 am, Tugume joe said:

Am so glad i subscribed to this, am always getting the best tips . Thanks alot and keep up the good work.

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