The Secret Manual for Asking Perfect Interview Questions
Asking perceptive, creative, and thought-out questions can be a great way to demonstrate interest, effort, and capability to interviewers. Asking the right questions about a company or a position can also return valuable insights from the hiring manager about the company’s values and culture.
Okay… there’s no secret manual containing the perfect list of interview questions. But it’s possible to prepare before the interview so that every question is a success.
Do the research.
Before an interview, there are two key types of information to gather: what the company says about themselves, and what others say.
Start by reading through the company website: the About Us page, what the company actually does, their blog, press releases, and any awards they could have won.
Then investigate if anyone else has written about them: do they have a good reputation in their industry? Are they growing? What makes them newsworthy?
Researching how the organization presents themselves as well as how others perceive them paints a fuller portrait of the company, and creates more material to craft informed, insightful questions.
Example: I read in your most recent press release the company is opening a second location next year. How will this new location contribute to your overall growth plan for the company?
No matter how much research is done before an interview, it’s always possible an interviewer won’t ask any questions where you can showcase what you know. So when the tables turn, try to preface questions with a fact, and then use the question to dig deeper into the issue.
Example:When employees succeed here, what traits do they have? What about if they struggle?
Questions like this show a desire to succeed in the role, and help determine whether or not you would thrive in the same position. The position may require multitasking and a lot of independence, and candidates who enjoy longer projects with more structure wouldn’t do well.
This question also offers a quick cheat sheet to key qualities the hiring manager will be looking for during the interview process. Share examples of how you exemplify the successful qualities, or discuss overcoming one of the challenges they described for struggling employees.
Example:Can you share an employee’s progression at the company?
Many companies claim to offer room for career growth, and those that do will have examples of employees who have worked their way up at the company. Asking a hiring manager to share an internal growth story reveals the professional opportunities available, and it shows what qualities the company values and rewards.
Example:Do you have any hesitations about my background?
This gutsy question accomplishes several things: it makes you a memorable candidate, it projects confidence, and allows you to proactively address any concerns the hiring manager may have. Hiring managers will probably remember someone who asked them to name the candidate’s own weaknesses, and they will probably remember how they advocated for themselves.
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