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Best questions to ask an interviewer

CareerBuilder | November 18, 2020

Questions to ask during interview

The right questions will help you decide if you actually want the job, but also convince the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for it.

“Do you have any questions?”

Those five little words signal a turning point in every interview. Suddenly you have the power to direct the conversation. And you need to use it wisely.

Ill-prepared candidates will brush off the opportunity and say they’re “all good.” But that’s a big mistake. Asking the right questions will not only help you decide if you actually want the job, but also work to further convince the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for it.

To help you achieve those goals, we’ve compiled this list of essential questions to ask in an interview:

1. Why is this position vacant?

It’s important to understand not only why the job is open but for how long it’s been vacant. The majority of vacancies are the result of an internal promotion or the departure of the previous post holder and are normally filled within a reasonable timeframe. If the job’s been open for several months, you need to know why. Did a previous candidate turn it down? If so, you need to know why before you leap into a potential lion’s den. Are the expectations of the job unrealistic? Is the compensation inadequate? If the job is a newly created one, you have an ideal opportunity to blaze your own trail.

2. How do you defined success in this role?

This question shows your interviewer that you’re already focused on your performance and how you’re going to distinguish yourself in this new role. The interviewer’s answer will help you gauge how you will be assessed and rewarded in this role, as well as understand the types of skills and behaviors that are rewarded at this organization.

3. What is your management style?

If you’re interviewing with your potential manager, it’s important to understand how they lead their team and if their management style will bring out your best work. If you’re someone who prefers room to work alone and your manager admits to being more hands-on, you may want to reconsider accepting a potential offer.

4. How do you stack up against the competition?

It’s important to research a company’s competitors when preparing for the interview. If you come across a perceived weak spot in the company’s strategy or product offerings, it can be beneficial to ask about that point in an interview. Doing so will highlight your sense of business strategy and let the employer know that you are invested in the continued success of the company. The answer will let you know if the company is viable in the changing marketplace.

5. How would you describe the corporate culture?

Being qualified to perform a job is not enough. You want to make sure that you will fit in with your new colleagues. Asking about the culture gives you some clarity about the situation you’re getting yourself into and also shows the hiring manager that you’re committed to being an active participant in the company.

6. Do you have any hesitations about hiring me?

It may seem like a risky question, but it’s better to address any skills or experiences you may be missing instead of pretending they don’t exist. Asking this question will allow you to either correct any misunderstandings the hiring manager may have about your resume, or demonstrate how a perceived weakness is actually a strength that makes you perfect for the role.

7. Why do you work for this company?

A hesitant or vague response should raise a red flag. You need to be confident that the company you are moving to rewards its staff and provides the opportunity for you to achieve your long-term goals.

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