The $100,000 question 

You’re ready for the interview- you’re wearing a new outfit, your resume is impeccable, and you’ve rehearsed your answers to all the commonly asked questions.  But all the candidates your interviewer will be seeing have done the same…  How do you stand out from the crowd? How do you make your interview more memorable and impressive than any other?  The answer is; questions.  Have you rehearsed the questions you’re going to ask them?  Many candidates forget that an interview is a two-way affair and an opportunity for both the company and the candidate to see if there’s a good fit. The more you can ask thoughtful, meaningful questions, the more you can turn the interview into a conversation, which is what it should be.  Asking questions allow you to be an active participant instead of just a ‘responder’, and will help you show off your easy-going manner, your professionalism and your confidence in a stressful situation.  What you want to do is insert them when appropriate. You want to maintain the ‘give and take’ of a natural conversation, not turn the tables and start interviewing the interviewer.  Here are some really good questions that will help set you apart from the other candidates;

  • “What is the person doing who just vacated this position?”  This will give you some insight into the path of this position-were they promoted or did they get burned-out?
  • “Why did you choose to work at this company?”  Finding out why other employees came and stayed can give you insight into some of the company’s benefits and culture.
  • “What is the reporting structure of the organization I’d be joining?”  Gaining insight into the organizational structure can tell you more about the context of the position, how many level of management are between you and the top, and how broad your organization is.
  • “How do you see me benefiting the company?”  This is basically a crafty way of asking them what they like about you. After hearing their response, you can emphasize the qualities you possess that got you in the door in other parts of the interview.
  • “Can you please tell me about the company culture?”  Finding out more about the ‘personality’ of the company, and the expectations of those working in the office will help give you a feel for whether this would be a workplace that you would be happy in.
  • “How many other candidates are you interviewing?”  This is a perfectly acceptable question that almost nobody thinks to ask.  This will give you the lay of the land in terms of the degree of competition and they may even volunteer information about the qualifications of the other candidates or their feelings about them.  You may catch them a little off-guard with this question, which could work to your benefit.
  • “When do you anticipate making a decision and an offer?”  Again, an appropriate question that a lot of candidates don’t think they should ask.  The answer to this question will tell you just how quickly you’ll need to get those “Thank-you’s” in the mail.