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The Best Questions to Ask in an Interview to Leave a Remarkable Impression

The Best Questions to Ask in an Interview to Leave a Remarkable Impression

You’ve finally got through to the end of the interview and your potential employer asks you the most common question – “Do you have any questions?”

Many people don’t think of this as an important question, and actually the most common reply is “no.”

Perhaps you had some basic questions in your mind but felt they were already covered during the interview?

Perhaps you didn’t think of any at all because surely an interview is more about what you’re saying than what your potential employer is saying?

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If this is the case, then you may be hindering your chances of getting the job more than you realize.

Why This Simple Question Can Be Hard to Answer

If you’re particularly nervous in interviews, whether or not you felt you performed well, your mind can start to feel relief at the end of an interview and start to get into a relaxed state.

The problem here is that we believe the “do you have any questions?” is the moment where the interview is over, but in fact you’re still essentially being tested by the interviewer. They want to gauge your interest in them, the role, or the company. If you’re unprepared with interesting or information-seeking questions, you may come across as disinterested and unenthusiastic for the job.

The other problem is if we did prepare questions, but they were already answered in the interview process. It can be hard to search for new questions on the spot, and we can end up not being able to think of any.

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How Asking Questions Can Prove You’re the Best Fit for the Job

Enthusiasm, interest, and a good, two-way flowing conversation are all excellent ways to come across well when meeting with a potential recruiter. While the bulk of the interview is to shine a good light on yourself and your abilities for the role, asking questions really shows your potential employer your knowledge, awareness of the role, and that you prepared fully for the interview.

It essentially shows you’re serious about the job and if you’ve done your research on the company and its values, it can be an opportunity to further show your knowledge about them and how they operate.

But it’s not all about the recruiter, it’s also a chance for you to see if they’re a good fit for your work values, career progression, and work lifestyle.

What Types of Questions Should I Ask?

Preparation is key. It’s important to have at least two potential smart questions that can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job. The best ones incorporate your interest in the employer while also eliciting essential information for yourself and whether the job is a good fit for you. In other words, your questions are focused and open-ended.

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Questions to Find out About the Company

This is an opportunity to show off your knowledge of the company, but also to see if it’s somewhere that will benefit you and your career path.

  • I read the company focuses on the importance of community and runs a volunteer scheme for its employees. Can you tell me a bit more about that?
  • Could you tell me a bit more about the culture of the company?
  • How does the company invest in its employees in terms of training?
  • How does this company define and measure success?

Questions to Find out About the Role

Show more enthusiasm for the role by asking additional questions. Remember, you can pick up on something the recruiter mentioned when describing the role and ask to elaborate on it, or you can think about your future in this role and how it can help you grow.

  • Can you tell me how you can potentially see this role progressing?
  • What are your expectations for this role for the next month, three months, or year?
  • Can you tell me what a typical day would be in this role?
  • What are biggest challenges of this job?
  • Is this a new position? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do?

Questions to Ask the Interviewer

Asking the interviewer for their personal view on their role in the company and how it works for them is a good indicator for a typical work life at this company, and perhaps the team you’ll work in.

  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • How long have you been with the company?
  • Is there anything you would improve in terms of working here?
  • What are the dynamics of the team like?

Questions to Further Clarify Your Suitability for The Role

If you feel you have more to say about yourself that could help you get the job, or you’d like to clarify something about your work history, then now can be a good time to present the information. Try not to force information if it hasn’t been asked for – this is a way for you to come across as being open. However, over-explaining a discrepancy that hasn’t been asked about will probably cause problems for yourself.

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  • What can I clarify for you about my qualifications?
  • Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?
  • Are there any other questions I can answer for you?

Questions to Find out Logistics

There will most likely be questions to do with the next steps in the process that you would like answered. It’s good to think of a few because you don’t want to leave the interview wondering what is happening next. It’s best to ask these right at the end.

  • What is the next step in the hiring process?
  • When can I expect to hear back about the job?
  • When is the anticipated starting date for this position?
  • If I think of any more questions who can I contact?

Remember: Don’t ask questions about salary, benefits, taking off holiday, or whether you got the job. These will be discussed after the interview.

So, remember to have a few questions under your belt. Continue the mindset that this is still a crucial part of the interview, and you’re showing off your enthusiasm and interest in both them and the role. However, it’s also for your benefit, and having good information-seeking questions can help you know if the job fits you. Good luck!

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Jenny Marchal

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Published on October 8, 2019

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

1. Define What Success Is for You

There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

7. Pick Up Some New Skills

Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

9. Make Yourself Indispensable

Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

10. Get Off the Fence

People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

18. Join a Professional Organization

The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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