When you show up for an interview session with the hiring manager for your dream job, you’ll be ready to answer any question that comes your way. You’ve be practicing your delivery on anyone who will listen. Your elevator pitch is polished, you’re prepared to field technical questions, and you’re ready to talk about any aspect of your past that your interviewers care to know about.
But are you ready to turn the tables and ask a few questions of your own? If you aren’t, it’s a good idea to take care of this detail beforehand. Don’t be caught like a deer in headlights when your interviewer reverses the dialogue. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Keep your questions genuine.
Don’t ask a specific question just because it makes you sound smart and engaged. If you really are smart and engaged (you are) then this part of your interview will take care of itself. Instead, use your Q and A to get answers that you actually need. For example, ask your interviewer why you should take this job if you’re given an offer. What does he or she like most about working here? What does she like the least?
Listen to the answers.
Too often, candidates come prepared with a list of scripted questions that they simply rattle off without regard for the context. Don’t do this. If you have a prepared question on your list, but your interviewer addressed the issue earlier, cross that one off. And as you ask each question, really listen to the answer. Take notes if you need to.
Keep your questions diplomatic.
You’ll eventually need to know about sticky subjects like the salary, benefits, and perks that come with this job. But since you haven’t officially received an offer yet, you can table these topics for now. Bring them up later when you’ve received an offer and you’re ready to negotiate. For now, keep your questions focused on the responsibilities of the job, the future of the company, the goals of the position, and the problems that your manager would like this new employee (possibly you) to solve.
Don’t leave until you get the answers you need.
If your interviewer misunderstands the question, or provides answers that are vague, dodgy, or watered down, don’t just walk away. Ask your question again using different words and don’t leave until you get the information you need. Treat the interviewer exactly as you would treat a candidate if you were in her shoes. The candidate selection process moves in two directions; she needs to use this session to make an important decision, and so do you.
For more on how to get the most out of your interview, reach out to the staffing and job search team at CSS.