© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
When you go into a job interview as a candidate, you should already have in mind some questions to ask. That's because before the interview is over, probably in the last five minutes or so, after the interviewer has grilled you mercilessly, he or she will sit back in the chair and ask, "Do you have any questions for me?" For many candidates, worn out from their interviewing efforts, this is a time when they draw a blank. Instead of answering, they simply sit there and blink. Sometimes they may blurt out "When can I start?" but more often, their response is just an uncomfortable and unimpressive silence.
It might help you to come up with job interview questions to ask if you realize that the point of asking the job interview question is not to get the answer, but to ask a question that furthers your impression of an intelligent, passionate, organized, effective, experienced candidate for the job. Questions which show your knowledge and interest in the company are winners. For instance, "I read in an article that the company is starting a new initiative to increase market share overseas. How does this initiative affect this department?" would readily display that you've put time and thought into the company's goals. "How does this company's strategy differ from some of its competitors?" is another good one.
Job interview questions to ask that build rapport with the interviewer are also valuable. Questions which get the interviewer talking about himself or herself, his or her career and the company are not only good at showing interest in the interviewer but giving yourself a break from answering questions about yourself. "So what brought you to this company?" is a good one, or "What do you think is the best thing about working here?" is another. Other good questions to ask are those which reveal your ambition. "What kind of career path would someone in this position follow within this company?" not only shows that you want to grow professionally, but that you are considering building a career in the target company.
Other job interview questions to ask might pop up during the interview itself. Don't feel like you have to wait until you are prompted to ask a question. If you are curious or unclear about a point, definitely get clarification. It's better to get something cleared up in the moment than be confused about it and possibly misunderstand something important about the potential employer. Many job interviewers are more impressed by a candidate who takes an active, curious, intellectually engaged role in the interview than a candidate who passively answers questions without expressing any conversational initiative. No article about what job interview questions to ask would be complete without advice on what NOT to ask. First and foremost don't ask any questions about what you'll get from the company. That means issues of compensation, hours, vacation, benefits and any other perks. During the interview, you want to appear interested in the job and the environment and the challenges. There will be plenty of time to discuss these matters later, after the company hiring manager has decided to hire you.
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