The landscape for job seekers today is more treacherous than at any other time in recent memory. In other words, if you want a job today, the hard work starts when you prepare for the interview.
That means not just nailing the questions you are asked, but actually asking the kinds of questions designed to make the interviewer sit up and take notice. It's no longer enough to be qualified. If you want a job in today's business environment, you have to shine, and there's no better way to show your excellence than by asking excellent questions.
Don't squander the opportunity to shine by asking mundane questions the interviewer has heard before. Your goal is to make a statement in the form of a question. The statement is designed to:
Highlight your qualifications.
Demonstrate your confidence.
Reinforce your commitment.
Understand the employer's challenges.
Make yourself accountable.
Advance your candidacy.
Questions are the best way to demonstrate that you understand the company's challenges, emphasize how you can help the company meet them and show your interest in the most unmistakable manner possible -- by actually asking for the position.
Based on my interviews with dozens of recruiters, human resource professionals and job coaches, here are nine of the most memorable questions candidates can ask:
1. What exactly does this company value the most, and how do you think my work for you will further these values?
2. What kinds of processes are in place to help me work collaboratively?
3. In what area could your team use a little polishing?
4. What's the most important thing I can accomplish in the first 60 days?
5. Can you give me some examples of the most and least desirable aspects of the company's culture?
6. Am I going to be a mentor or will I be mentored?
7. How will you judge my success? What will have happened six months from now that will demonstrate that I have met your expectations?
8. This job sounds like something I'd really like to do -- is there a fit here?
9. Now that we've talked about my qualifications and the job, do you have any concerns about my being successful in this position?
Use these questions as prototypes for questions based on the particulars of the position you are interviewing for. Make them your own and polish them until their shine reflects on you. Asking questions like these is not for the faint of heart but, then again, neither is succeeding in today's hypercompetitive job market.