It might sound odd, but some people actually enjoy interviews. It is one of the few opportunities in life that one has to outline her merits and gain an advantage over the competition.
A common misstep in interviews is to fail to ask thoughtful questions. The following questions will show the interviewer that you are serious about the position and passionate about the industry.
1. “How Does The Company Define Success?”
For both companies and individuals, success should be defined broadly. Sometimes all of the necessary conditions for success are in place, even when one fails. Companies should recognize that. If the interviewer tells you that they define success based more on effort and output than on results, that will be a positive sign.
2. “What Has Made You Successful At This Company?”
There are a few reasons that this question might be a good idea. First, it will make the interviewer feel good about herself, creating a positive rapport with her. Second, it will give you an idea of the skills that you will need to work on to succeed. Third, it will show the interviewer that you have intellectual curiosity about this job opportunity.
Further, though your goal is to build rapport with the interviewer, you should avoid being too personal. Questions about her personal life that are not immediately accessible should be off-limits.
3. “Can You Identify Some Opportunities The Company Has Right Now?”
Most of the questions that you ask should highlight your skills. This question will show that you are opportunistic and want to contribute to the company’s future. It will also demonstrate that you are interested in the company landscape.
4. “Do You Need Me To Clarify My Qualifications?”
Some items on your resume or your personal history might come off as a little obscure. If you worked as a virtual bookkeeper, for example, the interviewer might be a little confused about whether you worked from home and if you would have trouble merging into an environment with other people. Similarly, if your degree is in a somewhat related discipline, perhaps you can explain to the interviewer how your degree is relevant.
5. “Have I Answered All of Your Questions?”
During the interview, there may have been a time when you misunderstood something that the interviewer said or overlooked a careful nuance in her question. Rather than leaving that question in the air, let her know that you want to hear her feedback and provide clarification where necessary.
This question will also function as a gauge for your current standing. If she says that you answered everything to her satisfaction, then you should be optimistic. If she asks for further clarification, then you have an opportunity to repair any missteps.
6. “How Do My Qualities Align With The Ideal Candidate?”
This direct question could exhibit confidence and a capacity to hear the hard truth. If she delivers the bad news right there, then you know that you should not use your time and energy pursuing this position. On the other hand, she might give you a reason to be hopeful.
7. “Where Have Previous Employees In This Position Gone?”
This is not an opportunity to gossip. It will provide insight into whether there is room for advancement. It will also show the interviewer that you are ambitious.
8. “What Is The Company’s Management Style?”
Everybody has had a manager with a few negative attributes (do not mention that during the interview). Asking about the management style will allow you to assess whether you would be compatible with this potential employer. If the managers rely heavily on negative reinforcement with scarce encouragement, it might be a sign for you to go elsewhere.
Interviews can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. But if you prepare accordingly, bring a list of question and plan to clarify anything you said, you can improve your odds.