Common advice among job seekers is that when you attend an interview, you need to interview the employer right back. After all, you’re the one who will potentially fill the position. You need to know if it’s going to be a good fit, right?
While salary ranges, benefits and schedule flexibility are important details you deserve answers to, hiring managers don’t appreciate questions like those until at least your second interview (or maybe even after they make you an offer).
During your first interview, the “impress me” dance is still in full swing. When a potential employer asks if you have any questions, she doesn’t want inquiries about parking validation; she wants to see if you’re prepared, educated and inquisitive.
Here are six questions to ask at the end of your interview that will help you master the twisted tango of getting hired.
1. “If I were to start tomorrow, what would be the top priority on my to-do list?”
The answer to this question will give you more insight into the current state of the position while showing you’re invested and interested in learning how you can start things off with a bang.
The added bonus lies in the Jedi mind trick: You already have your interviewer picturing you as the position holder.
2. “What would you say are the top two personality traits someone needs to do this job well?”
The answer to this question will be very telling. You can translate “creative” and “intuitive” to mean you will be on your own, while “patient” and “collaborative” could mean the opposite.
Not only will this question allow you to feel out whether you’ll be a good fit, it will get your interviewer to look past the paper resume and see you as an individual.
3. “What improvements or changes do you hope the new candidate will bring to this position?”
This answer can shed light on what might have made the last person lose or leave the job, as well as tip you off on the path to success. Asking this shows an employer you are eager to be the best candidate to ever fill this position.
4. “I know this company prides itself on X and Y, so what would you say is the most important aspect of your culture?”
This question is sure to impress. It shows you researched the company, and gives you a chance to gain insight into what values the company holds highest.
5. “Do you like working here?”
This question might take the interviewer back a bit, but his answer will be telling. A good sign is a confident smile and an enthusiastic “yes,” paired with an explanation as to why. Consider it a red flag if he shifts in his seat, looks away, coughs and starts with “Well…”
Regardless of their answers, employers appreciate the chance to reflect on their own opinions, and it turns the interview process into more of a conversation.
6. “Is there anything that stands out to you that makes you think I might not be the right fit for this job?”
Asking this question can be scary, but also beneficial. Not only does it give you a chance to redeem any hesitations the employer might have about you, it demonstrates you can take constructive criticism and are eager to improve. These are valuable qualities in any candidate.
What other questions wow interviewers?
Kelly Gregorio writes about workplace trends and motivation while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a provider of small business loans. You can read her daily blog at http://www.advantagecapitalfunds.com/blog. This article first appeared on Brazen Life, a career blog for young professionals.
This article first appeared on Ragan.com in Dec. 2013.