© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
Wondering what questions to ask during a job interview is often one of the most troubling aspects of a job seeker's interview preparation. On the one hand, candidates know that asking intelligent, provocative questions can clear up any concerns the candidate has about the details of the position, while at the same time impressing the interviewers. On the other hand, there is always the fear of asking a stupid question, one which the interviewer believes should be self-evident or in some other way reveals the candidate's ignorance. Ultimately, this last fear is usually unfounded.
Instead of worrying about looking stupid, the thing to consider when choosing which questions to ask during a job interview is whether the question you will ask furthers your strategic goals. Remember, the number one purpose of the job interview is to get the second interview or to get the job offer. The way to do this is to demonstrate through your answers and questions that you are capable of solving the business problems which the company is most interested in solving. It stands to reason then that questions to ask during a job interview are the ones which clearly convey your problem-solving ability. Naturally, then, you will need to know what those problems are before you start asking questions.
Between your pre-interview research and the kinds of questions which the interviewer asks you, you should have a pretty clear idea of what the company is most interested in by the time you have to decide what questions to ask. Your questions should be phrased in such a way as to make it clear that you understand the main objective of the company, and are looking for information which tells you how the company employees are currently solving that problem. For instance, if you are interviewing for a record label you may gather from your interview that one of your major duties will be to find people illegally downloading your label's songs onto their computers. A great question to ask would be "What new kinds of strategies is the company considering to find these downloaders?"
Just as important as questions to ask during the job interview are your responses to those questions. For example, in the record label example, if the answer was that the company planned to hire an investigation team, then you would offer examples of your past efforts at using investigators to help resolve a company challenge. The point is, you want to show that you have experience solving problems that are similar to what the company is facing. That will make you more attractive as a job candidate and you just may be offered the position on the spot—or at least invited back for a second interview.
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