Ask these Questions in Your Next Job Interview

InterviewQuestions

Career advice delivered to you.

Email Signup

By now you already know when your interviewer asks “do you have any questions for me?” your answer should always be a decisive “yes”. Knowing the right questions to ask doesn’t just show that you’re interested either. It’s your opportunity to navigate past the job description and learn whether the management style, day to day responsibilities and company culture are a good fit for you.


And while you’ll want to cover the basics—what a typical day looks like at work and what your hiring manager sees as the biggest challenges—good questions go deeper.


Career paths can get bumpy. We know the job search can be grueling, interview process included; it’s tempting to just phone it in with the standard “what’s your favorite part about working here?” question. Resist the urge to go with the ordinary inquiries you and every other candidate can find in a quick search for interview tips. Try a few that will make you stand out instead.


Here are 3 questions you should ask in any job interview:

1. What are the top three traits you’re looking for in this role and for your company culture?

Lead with this question to align your work skills and experiences with their goals, before and after your interview. Hint: be prepared to take notes.


If your interviewer explains they are looking for someone who doesn’t need micromanaging, can communicate well with others and knows how to navigate office politics, now is your moment to show you have those traits.


After a thoughtful pause, share how you’ve demonstrated these abilities in the past. “One of the reasons I really thrived in my last role was I had the autonomy to tackle projects quickly at every stage. I actively communicated with other teams and learned what was important to them so everyone had a shared stake in meeting our deadlines.”


Not only is this helpful in the interview, when you’re writing a thank you email after, you can make it really pop. Thank you notes shouldn’t just be repeat from cover letters. Instead you’ll be able to share specifics. I think I could be the [insert trait #1], [insert trait #2] and [insert trait #3] [insert role] to fuel results at [insert company].


This question can also help you in sniffing out the pros and cons of the company culture. If they’re looking for an “adrenaline junkie who can really hustle” you’ll know you’d have plenty of caffeine and long working nights in your future there.


Storytelling is an excellent way to spell out your accomplishments without actually bragging. Rather than coming out directly and saying, “I was promoted four times in three years,” or “I won the XYZ award,” craft a story around how those achievements happened. Then, tie your stories to your unique selling point (USP) to really convey your value.

2. How can I help make you and your team successful?

This question makes two things abundantly clear. First, you are seriously interested in working at this company, and second, you’re already a committed team player. This can also highlight critical areas where the team will need extra support which could make the position more or less appealing.

 

For example, you might learn that while you’re applying for a position in sales, your potential employer wants more than just the day to day responsibilities you’ve already covered. Maybe they’re looking to hire a Business Development Manager who is passionate about brand advocacy and social selling. They might tell you, “we’re having a tough time getting the current sales team behind sharing marketing content, and we’d be looking to you to set that example online”.

 

Now you know what to expect on the job and you can also make sure your thank you email highlights your passion for social selling. Added bonus, you’ll score high on the professional development scale by asking a question most executives ask their own team members.

 

Sure, you may have headed up a successful project that saved your current employer thousands of dollars, but chances are you didn’t do it alone. Another great way to sell your skills and experience without coming across as a me-monster is to give credit to the others who assisted you along the way. Instead of, “I did XYZ,” say “My team and I achieved XYZ.” As a bonus, you’ll also demonstrate your collaboration and teamwork skills.

3. What goals would you like to see me achieve in my first 30, 60 and 90 days?

Asking this question highlights exactly what your goals will be and prepares you for that first performance review after you’re hired. This also gives you a chance to wow your interviewer by going above and beyond, sending them a more detailed version of what that plan could look like with your thank you.


The question also identifies any red flags if the goals seem unrealistic or don’t align with what you’re envisioning for your future career path.