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You've Got the Interview! Now What?

silhouettes of two people sitting in blue chairs during and interview

Your job search efforts have finally paid off, they called and invited you for an interview.  Your resume and cover letter were excellent.  You know to never be late for an interview and make a reconnaissance run just to make sure you know where the company is and how long it will take you to get there.  You always treat people with respect and kindness and you always make good impressions.   Appropriate eye contact is important; too little and you may appear untrustworthy, too much and you will make the interviewer uncomfortable.  You also know that about 90 seconds is all you want to take to answer questions.  Your role in the interview is to make the interviewers really want to work with you because you are enthusiastic, motivated, eager to learn and eager to promote their company.  They can just tell that you have good customer service skills.  They are almost ready to offer you the job on the spot, but when they ask you “Do you have any questions?” you reply “No” or “You’ve covered everything.” This is the death knell for interviewees. 

Asking Questions is often more important than answering questions. When you ask thoughtful questions, you emphasize your interest in the employer and the job.  When a potential employer asks if you have any question, she doesn’t want inquiries about parking validation; she wants to see if you’re prepared, educated and inquisitive.  “The questions you ask, or don’t ask, during an interview can be as insightful for the interviewer as your answers to their questions.” writes Elisabeth Harney Sanders-Park in her book, The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job.  She goes on to suggestion that “You should ask at least three questions: two that focus on the issues that benefit the employer and on one issue that profits you, such as opportunities for advancement and benefits.”

Here are a few really good questions to ask during your interview by Kelly Gregorio who writes about workplace trends.

1. “If I were to start tomorrow, what would be the top priority on my to-do list?”

The answer to this question will give you more insight into the current state of the position while showing you’re invested and interested in learning how you can start things off with a bang. 

The added bonus lies in the Jedi mind trick:  you already have your interviewer picturing you as the position holder.

2.“What would you say are the top two personality traits someone needs to do this job well?”

The answer to this question will be very telling.  Not only will this question allow you to feel out whether you’ll be a good fit. It will get your interviewer to look past the paper resume and see you as an individual.

3. “What improvements or changes do you hope the new candidate will bring to this position?”

This answer can shed light on what might have made the last person lose or leave the job, as well as tip you off on the path of success.  Asking this shows an employer you are eager to be the best candidate to ever fill this position.

4. “Do you like working here?”

This question might take the interviewer back a bit, but his answer will be telling.  A good sign is a confident smile and an enthusiastic “yes,” paired with an explanation as to why.  Consider it a red flag if he shifts in his seat, looks away, coughs and starts with “Well…”

5. “Is there anything that stands out to you that makes you think I might not be the right fit for this job?”

Asking this question can be scary, but also beneficial.  Not only does it give you a chance to redeem any hesitations the employer might have about you, it demonstrates you can take constructive criticism and are eager to improve.  These are valuable qualities in any candidate.



Gea Skeens,

Coordinator, HRD