Recently I’ve been applying for new jobs internally and I was talking with one of my mentors about an interview I had coming up, and what are good questions to ask at a job interview? He’s a former First Sergeant who I can count on being brutally honest with me, yet always gives some sage advice. Because of this, I value his opinion greatly. He asked me what questions I had for the end of the interview and I told him I didn’t really have any because I already spent 40 minutes on the phone with the hiring manager and he answered all my questions.
“Well, when I interview a candidate and they don’t have any questions, I think they’re an idiot.” We laughed together and after a bit of ribbing, he dropped some easy yet insightful options that I’m now going to share with you. So, here are 6 potential questions that you can ask at the end of an interview that will make you stand out as a candidate:
1. What is the first project/effort that you want me to tackle?
Not only does this question make you look like a forward thinking badass, but it also gives you an idea if the job is something you want to do. It might have some sexy job title, but you find out that for the first 6 months they have a floor full of records that they want you to help digitize.
2. What are some of the Challenges that I might face?
Here you get some insight into the position, and it may open up an opportunity for you to talk about how you might tackle said challenges, further setting you apart in the candidate pool. Again, the interview is also for you to get more information about the job to determine if it’s something you want to do.
3. Besides the manager, who should I look to for guidance in the role?
You really don’t want to be going to your boss for every question, you also don’t want to ask advice from the wrong person. This will also help you identify the people who your future boss thinks are doing a good job and surrounding yourself with them.
4. What are you looking for in a candidate?
This is great if you still have some time in the interview. Listen carefully, then find ways to show how you fit that description. This is a way of getting the answer to the test, then having an opportunity to reword and present as your own.
5. What are the keys to success in this job?
This is an opportunity to get a candid answer from your next boss on what he/she is looking for, and it will help you understand what you need to focus on as soon as you start the job. You’re probably going to have a lot to learn, many questions, and maybe little direction about where to start. With this question, you will know exactly what you need to focus on and if you need training somewhere, what training you need to ensure your success rapidly.
6. What does a typical day look like?
This last one is just for you. Don’t let them get away with something like “every day is different”, hit them with a follow up like “well, what are some of the tasks that you have to do every day?” You might find out right there that this is NOT something you want to be doing for the next several years.
There you go, you’ve now got 6 different questions that you can use at the end of an interview to get a better understanding of the job and make yourself stand out as a candidate, or as my mentor puts it, “Don’t look like an idiot.”
This article was written by Louis Fernandez for ConusBattleDrills.com