Taking control of your next job interview

Guest Column: Stephanie Daniel
At the end of every job interview, you’ll encounter the inevitable question, “Do you have any questions for me?” More

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Taking control of your next job interview

Guest Column: Stephanie Daniel
Posted 2/27/12

At the end of every job interview, you’ll encounter the inevitable question, “Do you have any questions for me?”

While it’s an oh-so-predictable event, many job candidates aren’t prepared to shine when they reach this final test in the interview. Failing to ask any questions or asking the wrong questions can send the wrong signals.

When the interviewer gives you the opportunity to ask your own questions, be prepared. Interviewees should prepare five to seven questions, with the expectation that there will probably only be time to ask just three.

Too many job seekers respond to this standard interview question with the standard “safe” responses: Will I be hearing from you or should I contact you? Why is this position open? In this very competitive job market, job candidates cannot afford to ask safe questions. Candidates must show that they are the best candidate by demonstrating that they are looking out for the needs and interests of the interviewer.

So, what types of questions should you ask? Try a few of the following:

• Is there a work issue that keeps you up at night and, given what you know about my background, how do you think I could help?

Here’s your opportunity to demonstrate a genuine interest in the day-to-day challenges your future manager is facing. By asking this question, the interviewer will start to envision you as an employee.

• What is the most gratifying aspect of the work you do for XYZ company? What’s your best advice to someone starting out at this company?

Asking the interviewer about the most gratifying aspect of the work she or he does helps you better understand what drives them. Drivers include things like making the best product on the market, helping others, making money, curing an illness or creating a hot, new technology, etc. Ask yourself how the interviewer’s drivers align with your own.

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