There are countless articles on preparing for a job interview with advice that has basically become common knowledge—research the company, dress appropriately, be punctual and so on. However, many people leave out one vital point. What they forget to mention is the importance of asking the right questions. Many candidates assume that if they’ve successfully answered the interviewer’s questions, then they have aced the interview.
However, this is not always the case. In the wise words of Voltaire, “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” By asking questions, you are taking an active role in the interview process, increasing the likelihood of your application being moved to the top of the pile.
It’s important not only to find out if you good enough for the job, but also if the job is good enough for you. Asking intelligent follow-up questions not only conveys that you are interested in the position, but also gives you all the details you need to make a well-informed decision about whether or not the position is a proper fit. It also shows that you are an independent thinker, which is a must-have for the majority of employers.
So more importantly, what questions should you ask? Here are three top picks recommended by experts:
- What specific skills will I need to perform this job well (not already mentioned in the job listing)?
When crafting a job description, many employers list a general skillset, but you’ll want to find out what skills will set you apart and make you successful in the company. For example, you can ask if they value someone who works better in teams or is more self-sufficient. Jerome Ternynck explains this is also a great opportunity to describe your strengths and what you have to offer.
- Can you describe the company culture?
Michelle Tenzyk, president of executive coaching firm East Tenth Group recommends inquiring about a company’s culture to determine if their brand personality, communication style and values compliment your own.
- What have previous employees done to succeed in this position?
The interviewer’s answer to this question will give you insight into how the company measures success and what traits you will need to succeed. Cheryl Palmer, founder of Call to Career explains that by knowing how the organization gauges achievements, this will help you understand what the expectations are and if you are qualified to handle the role’s responsibilities.
What questions do you usually ask during a job interview? Are there any you’d like to add to the list?