I’m often asked how to answer interview questions; it is just as important to know good questions to ask the employer since interviewing is a back and forth dialogue.
Today, in the first of a three-part blog series, I’ll provide some key questions along with why they’re important and what you could hope to learn from their answers.
At the beginning of an interview, an employer will often ask you to tell them about yourself and what you are seeking in a job. As you conclude your answer, you have an opportunity to learn more about what the interview is seeking. Perhaps, “I was excited to get to meet with you. Could you tell me a bit more about what you’re looking for?”
This question accomplishes a few things. First, it prevents you from talking too much. When you’re not being interrupted – and are maybe nervous – you can tend to ramble. Asking a question allows the employer to talk.
It can also help establish a trend of productive back and forth dialogue. You can potentially learn about the job’s education, skills and experience requirements and soft skills or character traits they’re seeking. Once you do, you can better tailor your responses to what you know for the employer wants.
Another question to ask at the beginning of the interview is for the employer to describe the position in greater detail. Just as you come prepared with your work history on a resume and/or application, the employer will often ask you to articulate what you’ve done on those jobs. Be sure to have the employer describe the position, ideally prioritizing the duties for you.
The employer is analyzing you on competency and culture fit. They are trying to learn whether you have the skills, education, personality and desire to do the job well.
At the same time, you are determining whether the opportunity is something you can perform well and whether it’s a company with which you want to work.
To help your thought process, it can be beneficial to ask questions about the goals or objectives for the position.
- How does the employer judge success in this role?
- What obstacles might you encounter to accomplishing those goals?
- Are the goals realistic?
You could also ask about the resources available to achieve the goals. The interview is an exchange of information. Asking thoughtful questions is a great way to determine whether you really want the job. Good luck!