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When it's your turn to ask questions during a job interview, it's yet another chance to sell yourself and show the employer that you're the ideal candidate. Choose questions that will add something to your candidacy -- and ideally, help to clarify your role and your fit within the company.
You probably know some of the qualifications the employer is looking for, but there's likely more to being successful than what's listed in the job posting. To ask how you can be most successful in the position, management expert Alison Green of the Daily Worth website recommends asking what a successful first year in the job might look like. Another way to ask this question is to ask how the successful candidate will contribute to the company's mission, as recommended by Clay Barrett of the Quintessential Careers website. This is something of an icebreaker question.
You'll also need to show that you're concerned with having a realistic view of the job as a whole, suggests Green. With that in mind, another good icebreaker or initial interview question is to ask the employer what she sees as the biggest challenges are in the position, recommends Green, though you can also ask about the biggest challenges for the company as a whole, suggests Joe Konop of the Forbes website. It's also another way to ask about the role you'll be filling and what tools you'll need to bring to the table when you start work.
Another goal of your questioning should be to show the employer that you're concerned about being a good fit, suggests Konop. Ask the employer to describe the company culture and what types of people are most successful there. Another way to ask this is to ask the employer to describe a typical work day, or to ask him to describe the general work flow. You can also simply ask him to tell you something about the team members with whom you'll be working. This may be most appropriate during a later interview.
Toward the end of the interview, the employer is likely to have formed an impression of you. That's when it's appropriate to ask whether the employer has any reservations about your candidacy. A good way to handle this is to ask the employer whether he has any concerns about you that you can talk about before you leave, recommends Barrett of Quintessential Careers. This is an appropriate question for any round of interviews, though in later interviews it may be more crucial in helping the employer make a decision.
The Next Steps
At the end of each interview, ask the employer what the next steps are -- whether it's the first, second or even the third interview. This will help to show that you continue to be interested in the job, reminds Konop. Not only that, but it also gives you one last chance to gauge whether you're still in the running. If the employer is enthusiastic or gives an exact date by which she'll call you, it's a good sign. And one last thing to keep in mind regarding questions for the employer: Ask the same questions of different people with whom you get to talk throughout the process, suggests SmartRecruiters CEO Joe Ternynck on the INC website, because the questions are partly meant for your information, but also meant to convince the employer you're a good hire.
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Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.
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