This isn’t your first rodeo. You’ve probably been to a lot of job interviews in your career — some good, some … not so good — and you’re really hoping this one sticks. You’ve tried some of the standard softball questions, but nothing seems to evoke a genuine response. You may even have brushed up on how to answer some of those awful curve balls interviewers are always eager to throw. Are you ready to have a real conversation with your interviewer that leaves a great impression? We may be able to help.
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As this helpful guide from Lifehack points out, you need to understand why exactly a question is “good.” Good questions, at least in the sense that we’re discussing them, are questions that evoke more than just a yes or no: they dig deeper, they’re out to uncover a story.
You may remember a New York Times article from last year: it revealed the 36 questions that could lead you to fall in love with someone by the end of that conversation. Those weren’t a series of yes or no questions that led you to realize your amazing compatibility with the other person. They were questions that helped people to get past the surface and make themselves totally vulnerable with their partner.
I’m not suggesting you get emotionally naked with your interviewer, just dig a little bit deeper than, “What skills does the ideal candidate have for this job?” Here are five questions that can help you do that.
What Kind of Culture Are You Trying to Create in This Office?
As this blog post from KISSmetrics points out, culture matters to employers. This question serves multiple purposes, then: it shows that you’re interested in something employers spend a lot of time thinking about, and their answer could give you a glimpse into what they’re looking for in a candidate — and that can even inform your demeanor for the rest of the interview.
What Would You Hope for Me to Accomplish in This Role?
This is unassuming language that helps your interviewer, in their answer, to envision you in the role. You’re not being so arrogant as to say, “What’s it going to look like when you hire me?” But still allows you to talk about the job in a more personalized way.
As this blog post from CollegeGrad.com points out, talking about tangible goals shows focus and planning. It lets the interviewer know that your priorities are in the right place, and helps you to understand more concretely what the company is after in a candidate.
How Do You See Someone in This Position Progressing in Their Career?
I once interviewed for a job at a publishing company in the production department. It became clear after a few minutes of conversation that the job really wasn’t going to be the right fit for me. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in the work, or that the interviewer didn’t like me. She simply gave me the courtesy of explaining that she didn’t want to hire someone who didn’t want to be in production five years from now. The truth was, I wanted to be in editorial.
It’s important that you and your interviewer are on the same page. Be quick to listen and slow to speak, and allow them to cast some of the vision of where a candidate might be in five years.
In What Ways Was the Last Person to Hold This Position Successful?
Whether it’s your job interview or an exit interview after you quit, Business Insider reminds us that there’s never a good time to badmouth co-workers or bosses. This question directs the tone away from badmouthing, but still gives you an opportunity to talk about someone who may have been fired or quit.
How Can I Be the Most Successful in This Job?
This is what brings it all home. A few years back, the Huffington Post published a tell-all from hiring managers, describing why certain candidates didn’t get the job. For one, they lacked confidence. But at the same time, some were clearly not interested in the position at hand, and were instead blinded by ambition and rising to the next level. When you can show an interviewer that you’re not only driven, but also looking forward to the job you’re applying for, you’re setting yourself up for a home run.
Tell Us What You Think
Have any horror stories from interviews gone awry? What are some of your go-to job interview questions? Tell us your secrets in the comments below, or by joining the conversation on Twitter!