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The Interview within the Interview

If you do not have the opportunity to ask questions during the interview, it is very likely that the hiring manager will ask if you have any questions at the very end. Your answer should always be "yes" because a failure to do so can suggest to the employer that you do not have a genuine interest in the position. With that being said, it is a good idea to come to the interview prepared with several questions that will not only help you gather additional information, but also impress the employer. This is where irrelevant questions (at least in the initial stage of the hiring process) regarding salary and work hours may fail to justify your position as the best candidate for the job. These types of questions should only be discussed once they are initiated by the employer.

The questions that you should ask need to shed some light on aspects of the corporate culture that may not be evident from the job description or website. Thoughtful questions demonstrate that you are capable of formulating a thought process and reinforce your interest in the job. Remember − you are interviewing the employer just as much as they are interviewing you!  In addition to creating a list of questions to ask prior to the interview, it’s also important to come up with questions that reflect some of the key points and/or job responsibilities that were mentioned during the interview.  This will demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are an active participant in the conversation and not just a one-sided interviewee. 

Here are a few examples that will leave a lasting impression on the employer and help you determine if the position is the right fit:

  • What is the most difficult hurdle that I would have to face in this position?
  • What types of opportunities do you offer for professional growth and development?
  • How will my job performance be measured?
  • Can you tell me the most important priority for someone coming into this position?
  • If you could give a piece of advice to someone coming into this position, what would it be and why?