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Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Student Success

Questions to Ask in an Interview

Bring at least five questions to ask employers to all of your interviews. Asking thoughtful questions is an excellent way to show your interest in the position and demonstrate that you have done research on the company. Avoid questions that you can find the answers to on the company’s website and focus on questions that show you have gone above and beyond to learn about the employer through news articles, company reports, talking to company representatives, etc.

It is usually OK to ask questions during the interview, and typically the interviewer will ask you if you have questions at the end of the interview. Although questions will vary with each interview, the following are some possible questions to ask, especially if you do not completely understand the job description.

What do you hope to see accomplished in this department within the next 6 months to a year and how can this position help you get there?

Why ask this question? This is a great question to ask because it lets the employer know that you have plans on assisting the company in achieving its short-term goals. This also lets the employer know that you’re a team player and you’re already thinking of ways you can make a positive contribution to the company, department and team.

Now what? Now that you’ve asked this question, listen CLOSELY. The employer is about to fill you in on the short term goals for the department and company. They’re going to tell you exactly what they’re looking to accomplish and what they’re expecting from you. I hope you have a pen and pad ready as the employer answers this question because this information is going to be valuable for the thank you letter you’re going to send after your job interview.

What is your ideal candidate?

Why ask this question? I love this question, simply because the employer will begin to vent on exactly what they’re looking for in their next candidate. The employer will begin to talk about the certain skills, traits and characteristics it takes to be successful in this position. This is the type of information that you want as a potential hire.

Now what? I know you heard this one question before, but it’s really the follow up that matters. The worst thing you can do is ask this question and don’t respond after the employer has told you what they’re looking for in their next candidate. After the employer is finished telling you what they are looking for in their next candidate, it is now your opportunity to reassure the employer that you are that candidate. For an example, if the employer tells you that they’re looking for someone who’s motivated, thrives under pressure, and has great organizational skills; this is your opportunity to let the employer know that you possess those three qualities. Also, it is not enough to simply say you meet those requirements, you must provide specific examples in which you showcased these qualities at a previous job, internship or classroom activity. When providing your examples, always use the STAR method.

I’d like to know what it takes to be successful in this position, what type of efforts do the top performers put in?

Why ask this question? Now you’re thinking! This question lets the employer know that you have the motivation and determination to perform on the same level as the top performers in the company. This question really shows your desire to succeed and willingness to bring positive results to the company. Employers love nothing more than an employee who’s dedicated to perform.

Now what? Just as the ideal candidate question, when the employer finishes their rant on the qualities of their top performers, this is your chance to come in and let the employer know that you share the same qualities as the top performers in the company. Remember, do not forget to provide specific examples in which you implemented these qualities using the STAR Method.

What are some of the challenges for a person entering this position?

Why ask this question? This is a great question to ask, simply because this lets the employer know that you are aware that challenges will occur and you’re looking forward to taking on those challenges. This also shows the employer that you tend to prepare for upcoming tasks and challenges.

Now what? This question is golden for you. It allows you to foresee exactly what you’re in store for when taking on this position. Remember, you’re interviewing the company as well. You’re ultimately trying to determine if this is a position you want to take. More importantly, this question gives you another opportunity to let the employer get a feel of how you handle challenges. When providing your examples of how you handled challenges in the past, be sure to use the STAR method, which is very popular among behavioral interview questions. Employers love examples.

Do You Have Any Concerns about My Qualifications

Why ask this question? This question really says something about your character. This really lets the employer know that you are open to constructive criticism, I mean think about it, how many other candidates will have the guts to ask an employer to point out any potential weaknesses? Not many! This is also a great question to ask because this will give you the chance to address ANY reservations the potential employer may have about you candidacy.

Now what? Keep your ears peeled, you’re going to want to hear what the employer is saying. Once the employer addresses their concerns about your candidacy, this is your chance to turn any potential negatives or drawbacks into positives. This is your opportunity to assure that there is no question that you are the person for the job.

Can I tell you why you should hire me?

Why ask this question? Now you’re separating yourself from the rest of the candidates. This is a great final question to ask at the end of your job interview. What better way to depart your interview than to leave the lasting impression in the interviewers head on how you’re in fact the best person for the position? When you ask this question, be prepared to deliver! Your answer needs to reflect on how your skills, qualifications and education makes you the best person for the job, your answer needs to reflect why you’re the best fit for the company amongst the other candidates.

Now what? Now that you’ve left the lasting impression that you’re the best candidate for the job, you should feel a sense of relief. The only thing left to do is get the business card of your interviewer and send in your thank you note.

Other Questions to Ask

What do the day-to-day responsibilities of the role look like?
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Success and happiness in a job boils down to contentment with the nitty gritty of the every day
What are the company’s values? What characteristics do you look for in employees in order to represent those values?
Dig deep to get more information on company culture. You’ll get insight into what is most important for the company as a whole, and what it values in the individuals who work there.
What’s your favorite part about working at the company?
It’s important to get a sense of your interviewer’s opinions about working there. If enthusiasm flows easily, that’s a great sign. If it doesn’t, that is worth noting too.
What does success look like in this position, and how do you measure it?
It’s crucial to have a deep understanding of how a company measures success. What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) for the role? How, and how often are they measured?
Who will I be working most closely with?
This question will help you get a better sense of the dynamics of who your collaborators will be. Jot down names, ask for titles. It’s important to evaluate how cross-functional the role is.
What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job?
Knowing the good is just as important as knowing the not-so-good. You want to understand the scale of the problems you’ll be dealing with.
Is there anything about my background or resume that makes you question whether I am a good fit for this role?
This question displays that you’re highly invested in the job and committed to understanding your prospects as a candidate. Plus, it will also allow you an opportunity to respond to any potential concerns.

About Company:
• Who has been the most successful person to work here and why?
• Who has been the most UNsuccessful person to work here and why?
• What makes your organization different from others?
• Where does this organization plan to be in 5 years? In 10 years? In 20 years?
• How does the organization plan to get there?
• What’s the biggest challenge the company will face this year?
• What will I be able to do to measurably make a difference this year?

Position and Infrastructure
• How does the job for which I am interviewing fit in with the mission of the organization?
• What would a typical day be like in the position for which I am interviewing?
• How does this position relate to others in this department?
• Which departments would I interact with most?

Advancement Opportunities
• How is the position for which I am applying evaluated? How often?

Job Security
• How did the opening for which I am applying occur?
• Where is the person who held the position before the opening now?
• How secure is this position?

Professional Development
• Is training provided for the position for which I am interviewing? How is it provided? How long is it provided?
• Are training opportunities available through the organization?
• What is the organization’s policy on continuing education through colleges? Professional seminars?
• How does the organization handle days away from work to attend classes or seminars?
• Does the organization support membership and participation in professional organizations?

To Close the Conversation
ALWAYS ASK: May I have your business card(s)? This will give you proper contact information for thank-you letters and follow-up information.
ALWAYS ASK: What are the next steps in the hiring process? This will give you a timeline, peace of mind, and clues for any possible follow-up actions.

Schedule a mock interview with the Career Services office TODAY!

Email or call (509) 335-3740 to schedule.