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How to Ask Smart Questions during an Interview to Help You Land the Job

WHAT TO DO BEFORE THE INTERVIEW | DURING THE INTERVIEW | Choose the correct alternatives to complete the text below. |

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Most people prepare for an interview by anticipating the questions they’ll be asked – and practicing their answers. But what happens when the tables are turned and the interviewers ask if you have any questions for them. Consider asking questions that are specific to the company. You might concentrate on asking about the challenges it faces and its position within the industry in which it operates. Beyond those specifics, there are five more questions that you must be prepared to ask in any interview. These may provide you with valuable insight and further support your candidacy.


WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU SEE IN THIS POSITION? This shows an interviewer that you’re interested in going beyond the basics and that you are inquisitive and thoughtful. It also shows that you’re not adverse to overcoming challenges and tackling them with gusto. An interviewer will often reveal information that would otherwise have been difficult to ascertain. For example, he might let you know about specific projects that you’ll be expected to tackle. Or she could let on that the various personalities in a specific division are difficult to work with. Whatever the response, you can use that information to address how you’re ideally suited to rise to the occasion and handle those issues.


WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THE IDEAL CANDIDATE TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS? By asking this question, you’re showing the interviewer that you are a results-oriented professional. All employers want goal-driven and motivated people on their teams. You’re ready to hit the ground running with an eye toward accomplishing whatever is most important to your new employer. Finding out what an employer values and the expectations she or he has for this job candidates will help put both sides on the same page. It’s beneficial to communicate your awareness of expectations and to make clear that you’re willing and able to meet them.


WHY IS THIS POSITION VACANT? The answer might be either benign or a big eye-opener. The position might be new, which is great news because it likely means the company or division is growing. Someone might have been promoted, which is also positive because it’s typically a sign that the company promotes from within. At other times the interviewer might let slip that they’ve had difficulty keeping someone because the manager is demanding and often difficult to work with. You’ll want to know as much as possible, so take the opportunity to learn about what you might be stepping into in terms of culture and personalities.


WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS IN THE INTERVIEW PROCESS? Most interviewees make the mistake of leaving the interview without a sense of what to expect next. Ask this key question while you still have the attention of the interviewer. Find out if you’ll have to meet with more people, agree to any kind of skill-based or psychological testing, or submit to drug tests and background checks. You should also ask if other people are being considered for the position, and where the company is in the hiring process. Be sure to inquire as to when you can expect to hear from someone about the next steps. Offer to call your contact in an agreed-upon time frame. The more you can glean from these answers, the less chance you will become frantic or frustrated because of uncertainty.


WHEN DO YOU EXPECT TO MAKE A DECISION? This question differs from the questions you’ll be asking about the next steps in the process. You want to know their time frame for making a formal offer. You might learn that the company doesn’t expect to make an offer for two to three months. Other times the period might be as short as a day or a week. The benefit of knowing their time frame is important in terms of managing your own needs and expectations. You’ll also want to figure out who the final decision maker is, so that you will be prepared when interacting with that person.


· In addition, it is advisable to ask about the company culture. You can say, “I know that you must determine if I’d be a good fit for your culture. Similarly, I want to make sure that this is a good match for me. I have a few questions about the philosophy and practices of the company that I hope you won’t mind addressing.” Among the questions you might want to ask: What is the policy for promoting from within?

· What is the turnover in the department I’m interviewing for?

How does that compare with the turnover in the company as a whole?

· How would you describe the senior management style?

· How did you get your job here? Would you share your experience and impressions of the company with me?


By asking questions that show clear insight into the company’s initiatives and goals, you are demonstrating to a potential employer that you will fit right in, that you understand their workplace culture, and that you are ready to go to work.



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