There are countless rules and tips about what to do and what not to do during a job interview. If there’s one critical thing that every job seeker must do to stand out and to be taken seriously, it is simply ask questions. When you don’t come prepared with thoughtful questions, it says a few things, including: 1) you are underprepared, 2) you aren’t excited about the job or the company, and 3) you’re not visualizing your day-to-day role within the company.
Here’s how to craft questions that will impress your future employer.
Learn more about the long-term goals for the role you’re interviewing for. Questions like, “what are 2-3 major accomplishments that you’d like to see come out of this role in the next six months?” show that you are aiming to make an impact and hold yourself to a high standard.
Ask your interviewer to describe the company culture and values. By expressing an interest in the heart of the company and going deeper than day-to-day tasks and items that only impact your role, show that you can think big picture – and prove that you care about the company itself. Asking an interviewer about company values demonstrates an important level of maturity and consideration. Moreover, if you are truly seeking a perfect job match, you can learn a lot by asking this question.
Hit the ground running
What can I immediately get started working on that would make the most impact? is a great question because it helps you to visualize what your responsibilities and day to day role will look like immediately – and it is always beneficial in an interview to paint a picture for the interviewer, allowing them to envision your work ethic and your transition into the company. The more they can visualize your role and positive input within the organization, the more smoothly (and quickly) the application process is likely to go.
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Return on investment
Ask questions that shed light on the internal process for metrics, mentorship, and expectations. Find out if you will be leading others, or if you will have access to others who are either leading you or who you might learn from. Learn more about the process around metrics, checkpoints, and opportunities based off of meeting goals. Doing so will show that you appreciate accountability and that you expect to exceed expectations.
Be a straight shooter
Be direct. One of the most straightforward ways to nail an interview is simply by expressing your high level of interest in the role. Without going overboard, be sure to exhibit a strong interest and energy around the opportunity. Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions like, “I think this is a great fit for my background – what do you think?”. Many managers understand that if an individual has passion and drive, they are going to be “coachable” and easy to work with; prove that you are coachable by expressing interest, and even if your background isn’t a perfect match, you can exhibit your ability to grow and learn easily.