3 Questions That Will Impress Any Interviewer
Once the door closes and the interview starts, it can feel like you hold none of the power. The interviewer chooses the questions, nods mysteriously at your skills assessment, and ultimately decides whether or not you have a future with their company.
So what can you control? The questions you choose to ask. Without fail, your interviewer will close by saying, ‘and do you have any questions for me?’ Your response will be the last thing they remember about you. Here’s how to make those questions count.
1. How do you see the person in this role progressing over the next 6 months, 1 year, 2 years?
There are a few reasons we encourage job seekers to ask this question:
- It tells you exactly what the hiring manager expects of you. If possible, ask this question earlier in the interview and proceed to tailor your responses to highlight the qualities and responsibilities that the company most needs.
- It showcases a long term commitment to the company. In this tight market, job seekers are able to switch jobs with ease. Asking about your future – in years and not months – will show a willingness to commit for the long haul.
- It shows that you are a results person. You want quantifiable benchmarks to which you can hold yourself and your progress. You aren’t just looking to coast through until you find your next job.
2. What do most successful team members have in common?
With this question, you’re forcing your interviewer to explicitly outline the ‘recipe to success’ for their specific team. The answer will be different for every business and every division within that business.
What you want to understand is whether you have the necessary qualities to reach high levels of success at the company. Remember, interviews aren’t solely an opportunity to sell yourself – they’re also an opportunity to feel out whether this team is a logical fit for your career. If their recipe for success involves teamwork and cold calling mastery, and you’re an introvert with weak communication skills, it may not be worth the trouble.
On the other hand, you may find yourself perfectly aligned with the success metrics offered by your hiring manager. In this case, respond with specific examples from your past experience where you embodied these traits.
3. Do you have any concerns that I can address?
Never leave an interview without throwing this question out there. It’s scary to open yourself up to possible criticism and doubt, but it’s a critical part of managing expectations and maintaining transparency.
Imagine losing a perfect opportunity because the hiring manager was concerned about a two year resume gap that could have been easily explained. Or perhaps they were unsure about your skills with a certain software, or were worried about your tendency to hold short tenures in your past positions. These can be easy concerns to address – but only if you ask.
Bonus: Can you describe XXX person to me?
In your pre-interview research, unearth the name of a high ranking official – be it the head of your department or the president of the company, depending on the size of the business. Ask your interviewer how they feel about this person and their management style, and follow up with detailed questions about their experience working together.
More often than not, this line of questioning will reveal 1) the culture of the company and how employees view one another and 2) the overarching philosophy of the business, as represented in the high ranking official’s behavior, attitude, and relationship with other employees.
Want more interview tips? Check out these great resources:
- The comprehensive guide to interviewing, written by one of San Diego’s top recruiters
- How to respond to the ‘tell me about yourself’ prompt – one of the most misunderstood interview questions
- Attend – either virtually or in person – our monthly Resume and Career Coaching Workshops, led by our CEO the last Tuesday of every month