Job interviews are all about the interviewer asking the job seeker questions, right? Well, yes. But savvy job seekers ask a few well-chosen questions of their own.
In The 3 Questions People Always Forget to Ask in an Interview, entrepreneur James Caan suggests that interviewees ask their interviewers the following:
1. What qualities are you looking for in the person you are hoping to appoint?
2. What scope is there for personal development at your company?
3. Is there anything you have seen in the other people on the shortlist that you have not seen in me?
I wholeheartedly agree with question 1 (though I’d ditch the stodgy phrasing of “hoping to appoint”). A job search—from the resume to the interview—should be all about figuring out what your potential employer needs and then demonstrating how you can fill those needs.
But I wholeheartedly disagree with questions 2 and 3. Can you guess why?
Question 2 is a “what’s in it for me?” question. In every interaction with a potential employer, you should stay focused on what you offer them. Instead of asking a question about how their company could benefit you, ask a question about the specific ways you can benefit the company:
• What changes are you hoping to make to your organization?
• What goals do you have for the coming years?
I object to Question 3 because it’s not a real request for information. It’s a gambit that hopes to trick your interviewer into admitting that you lack nothing. I’d shy away from a potential employee whose words are designed to manipulate rather than communicate. Better questions would be:
• Are there any other qualifications you’re looking for?
• Are there any other questions I can answer for you?
• Do you have any concerns about my background that I can resolve for you?
Next time you’re in the interview hot seat, be proactive and ask a few questions of your own. “What can I do for you?” questions show your interviewer that you’re proactive, energetic, and goal-oriented.
If you’d like more guidance on taking control of the interview process, check out RedRocketResume’s partner The Wyn Group.