When it comes to a job interview, having good answers is important. But that’s just half of it – you’ll also be judged by the questions you ask.
In fact, for some interviewers, not having smart questions is “the kiss of death,” says Jodi R.R. Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting.
“If I get to the end of a 45 minute interview and ask if you have any questions, and you do not, you are not going on to the second round,” she says.
Bottom line: Don’t be shy – ask questions.
What your questions should say about you:
You’re Knowledgeable: Questions about the basics – what do you do here?, for instance – will make a poor impression on your interviewer. Your questions should show that you’re already knowledgeable about the company, its competition and its place in the industry.
Do your research and craft a few questions that demonstrate your understanding, such as: You just launched product XYZ, what is your strategy for supporting the launch?
You Have Ideas: An employer wants to hire someone who is going to bring ideas to the table – so bring ideas to the interview. Ask about the company’s challenges and goals to create an opening to talk about what you would do to help get the company to where it wants to be.
Or, if you asked a question like the one in the example above, it’s a great opportunity to share your ideas about how the person in the position you’re for which you are interviewing can help support the launch of product XYZ.
You’re Enthusiastic: An interviewer wants to feel like you’re excited about the prospect of getting hired. Display your enthusiasm with a forward-looking question that hypothetically puts you into the position and eager to excel.
Something along the lines of: If you were evaluating my performance in six months, what would it take to exceed expectations?
Beware, however, enthusiasm in the extreme can come off as desperation or neediness -- major turn offs to employers.
You Care: Whether a new employee is terminated or leaves on his own after a short time, bad hires are costly for companies. That’s why interviewers aren’t just looking for the right skillset – they want to make sure prospective employees really want to work for them.
Asking a few questions about culture, work style and the company’s direction and goals will show that you care about finding a company that is a good fit for you, and not just collecting a paycheck until you move onto the next thing.
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