No BS Job Search Advice: Five Questions to Ask on an Interview

Five Questions to Ask on an Interview

Every interview has three parts to it. The initial phase often begins with an open-ended question like, “Tell me about yourself and what you’ve been doing professionally.” The second part is when you are asked questions or tested to evaluate relevant skills, competency.

The third part, the one which receives the least attention, is one where you are asked if you have any questions for them. In a recent interview I arranged, a job hunter made the mistake of not having any questions, believing that his questions were covered in sufficient detail … and it cost him the job.

Here are five good basic questions you can ask to set you apart from your competition.

1. Tell me about the (job, project, position) you have in mind for me and what my role and responsibilities will be when I come on board. This question

accomplishes several things. It allows you to hear the specifics of the job directly from your potential employer. It speaks to your job responsibilities. It also gives them the idea that you are interested in the job by using the phrase, “when I come on board,” as opposed to “if I come on board.” This question would be asked late in the interview if you did not have an opportunity to ask it at the beginning.

 2. Would you please give me an idea of your priorities and my deliverables after I start? Will they crush you with a tough schedule? Is it reasonable?

3. Was there someone else in this job before me? If so, how long were they here and why did they leave?

4. What is your management style? What kind of people tend to thrive under your leadership?

5. How long have you been with the firm? Why do you continue to remain with it?

Here are some other questions to ask that will get employers interested in you:  

How will my performance be evaluated and measured? This is a different question than asking about the frequency of your job review. It asks about the assessment criteria for your performance.

Who are the staff leaders, if any, you rely upon? This is a favorite of mine for many reasons. It makes your future boss tell you whether they think of only themselves as being responsible for their success or others. It tells you about the “staff sergeants” who help create the success of the team. It also tells you who you will also need to win over to be successful once you join.

Can you please tell me a little bit about the people with whom I’ll be working most closely?

Asking solid questions will go a long way toward clearing up misconceptions you might have and creating a positive impression in your employer’s mind.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2008, 2016, 2020


JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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