So many of us focus so intently on preparing to answer interview questions that we often neglect to prepare a strong set of questions for the interviewer.  This is a major mistake.  To simply not ask any questions during an interview is unforgivable and fortunately most candidates do not commit this job-search sin.  But, how many candidates take the time and energy to prepare in advance a strong set of questions to ask the interviewer?  As a candidate, it is your obligation to interview the interviewer by asking appropriate questions.  We sometimes forget that interviewing is a two-way street.  You need to determine if this hiring manager and company are a good fit for you.

You want to learn as much as you can about the company, the position and the hiring manager.  You do this by asking open-ended questions.  You cannot elicit the information you need to learn by asking closed-ended, yes or no questions.  I have attached a list of twenty interview questions that I rely upon for interviews (click the enclosed link). Questions to ask the Interviewer.  I have broken them into three distinct categories:  1) Company-specific questions, 2) Position-specific questions, and 3) Manager-specific questions.  I have asked each of these questions during interviews many times, but NEVER during the same interview.  You want to be very careful that you do not overwhelm the interviewer, as you do not want to appear to be conducting a more thorough interview than the interviewer.  Let’s face it…no one really likes an inquisition.  I suggest that you pick 5 – 10 questions that suit your preference and which you would ultimately like answered.  I would encourage you to select a healthy mix of all three categories. 

By asking thoughtful and inquisitive questions, you will demonstrate both your seriousness and preparation.  The information you gain from these questions could very well determine whether or not you want to work for the hiring manager and ultimately the company.  In this regard, this information is invaluable.  For example, I simply cannot bear to work for someone who is a micro-manager.  To make this determination, I simply ask the hiring manager to describe his or her management style.  I also want to know if the company fosters work-life balance.  Therefore, I ask the interviewer to describe company’s culture.  I feel that it is imperative that candidates know what they are potentially getting themselves into; which can be determined simply by asking what the most immediate challenges of the position are that need to be addressed in the first three months of hire.  If you are as curious as I am to know about the merit system for bonus incentives, then you want to ask about the reward system for top performance.  I’ll bet you are interested to know what the company’s future might look like; which is why you would want to ask where the company is going in the next 3 – 5 years.

To determine the timeframe of the hiring process and ultimately next steps, you need to ask.  This is VERY important information.  If you are looking for an opportunity to overcome unspoken concerns or objections by the interviewer, then the interview is the best time to ask.  You will not get a second chance to address objections, which could simply be a misunderstanding or disconnect by the interviewer.  Don’t leave anything to chance…ASK!

What are some of your go-to interview questions?

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