“The ability to ask questions is the greatest resource in learning the truth” – Carl Jung
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when going into a job interview is just to be reactive and let the interviewers ask all the questions. While you certainly need to be ready to answer a wide variety of questions, you should also take the initiative to ask meaningful questions to direct the interview in a way that brings out your best qualities and learn what you need to learn about the company.
Asking questions helps you discover if the role you are applying for is a great fit for you. It also helps the interviewer uncover who you are and what value you can bring to their company. Remember, employment is a 2-way street, and it should be a fit on both sides.
Let me give you a couple of examples you can try during a job interview:
- Tell me about yourself… is a phrase that you often hear during job interviews. In the process of preparing for interviews, you may be preoccupied with how to answer that type of question because it is so open-ended. One way to approach it is by asking a clarifying question like, “I’d love to answer that question, and there is much I could share. What would you specifically like to know about me so I can answer this question appropriately?” This will help them focus on what they are trying to learn and help you direct your answer.
- At the conclusion of the interview when you are asked if you have any questions, don’t just pack up and say “none.” Prepare in advance what you can ask to better understand the job that you are applying for. You may ask “If I were to join the team, what would you expect me to accomplish in the first 90 days in order for you to feel like you made the right choice in hiring me?” This helps them clarify their outcomes/expectations with you and gets them visualizing you being successful in the role.
Additionally, if you want to clarify anything that is confusing or vague in the job description, don’t hesitate to ask a question about it. In their simplest form, interviews are discussions that help everyone understand and get to know each other better. A job interview should serve as a conversation, not an interrogation.
Be prepared to ask great questions. In some cases, asking the right questions can make all the difference in making it a great job interview that sets you apart from the rest of the candidates.
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