At the end of most interviews you’ll be asked, “What questions do you have of me?” That’s the time to move your candidacy up the ladder or down. You’ll be assessed by the quality of your questions, not the quantity. Questions that demonstrate your business acumen or the value of your insights will move you closer to becoming a top candidate. Other questions will knock you out as a candidate. Do you know the difference between the two?
QUESTIONS TO ASK THAT GIVE YOU HIGH MARKS: These are questions that demonstrate your desire to perform at a high level, contribute to results, and achieve operating goals:
- “What are the objectives that need to be attained by this function in the first 12 months?
- What do you see as potential impediments that need to be overcome?
- What are the top priorities in the short term to obtain operating results?
- How do you see this function contributing to the long-term strategies of the organization?
- What can we do to differentiate ourselves over the competition?
- How can I best demonstrate my value to you in achieving your goals and objectives?”
Questions like those above show the hiring manager that you’re interested in the contribution and results both on an individual basis and also part of the operating team. It projects a “can do” attitude. These types of questions also differentiate you from other candidates who may ask questions from the list below.
QUESTION THAT GIVE YOU LOW MARKS:
- What are your policies on vacation, holidays, benefits, insurance, moving, merit pay, etc? (Save these kinds of questions once the company indicates a greater interest in you)
- Do you require references from my past employers? (They will ask if interested)
- Do you have a drug-testing requirement? (Why ask unless you have a problem?)
- How many other candidates are you interviewing? (Focus on your own qualities)
- What are the promotional opportunities? (Concentrate on the job in front of you)
- Are there other positions that I can apply for? (Not what a hiring manager wants to hear)
- What level of technical skills is required? (This question shows you are unprepared)
- I know your main line of products, but what else do you do? (Shows lack of research)
- I have other opportunities, so when will I hear back from you? (Probably never)
- Do you have a probation period? (Shows a lack of confidence in your ability to do the job)
Candidates are successful or fall short in the interviewing process two ways: By how they answer questions from the interviewer and from the insightful questions they ask. Most candidates spend a lot of time thinking and practicing the first part, and almost no time on the second part. When two or three candidates are finalists, the one who focuses on the results the hiring manager is looking for by their questions, will usually come out on top.
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