Let’s say your interviewing for an open position, internally or extremally. You’re asked, “What questions do you have of us?”. The questions and answers you get may be the most important part of the entire interview. Why? Because all other questions are for the hiring manager’s information. Now it’s your turn to find out if the job is the right one for you. Here are examples of relevant questions.
- What are the immediate issues needing resolution? If I were a hiring manager, I would be impressed with this question. It shows you are looking ahead for alternatives to the issues you may face and the implications for potential decisions. It also gives you some insight into what lies ahead if you become the candidate of choice. The second part is how quickly you’ll be expected to solve the issues. One month or one year? Whatever the answer, you’ll have a perspective you didn’t have before. If the answers are vague or a non-answer, you’ll need to wonder why.
- What do you see that are impediments for getting results? This is another probing question that impresses most hiring managers. When you get a straight answer, you not only get valuable information, but it shows the level of openness and transparency of the boss. With this information, you can also assess the degree of complexity and/or difficulty of the job. This, in turn, may affect the discussion of compensation later on. It could also provide some insight into areas that you’ll need to brush up on your skills. This is especially true in areas of technology or applications you may not be familiar with during past jobs.
- How did this function become open? You may interview differently depending on why the job is open. With a new job that has never existed, your questions revolve around scope and interaction with others. How does the new job interact within a work group or interface with another department? Do you have to be careful about “stepping on toes”? On the other hand, if you’re replacing someone else, did they do an exceptional job that can’t be duplicated (will you be competing with a legend), or did someone fail in the job (are the expectations too high or the issues overwhelming)?
- Can I meet the people with whom I’ll be working? Usually this question should be asked after you’re offered the job. After an offer, you’re usually invited to visit the community to consider where to live, etc. This is a great time to meet with the people who may determine your success. Are they hostile because they should have gotten the job? Are they excited about your experiences from which they can learn? Do you have an individual or department that sees you as a competitor for resources, performance, incentives or visibility?
The right key question at the right time during an interview can make you the top candidate of choice. Choose well.
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