Best Questions to Ask a Potential Employer During a Job Interview

By | October 20, 2014

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Most applicants think only about the questions a potential employer may ask them in an interview. However, it’s equally important that you arrive with questions for the prospective employer. Keep in mind that the job must be a good fit for you, too. But what are the best questions to ask?

What is a typical day like in this job?

One of your goals during the interview should be to show a realistic and mature interest in the position. You want the interviewer to see that you realize a new job isn’t just about the salary. You want a potential employer to see that you’re interested in fitting in with and meeting the expectations of the organization on a daily basis.

What is the primary action item for the person who fills this position?

Employers typically have a main need in mind for a new hire to fill. Show interest in what that may be. Doing so will demonstrate that you are a problem solver and that you care about the success of the organization. This question is also helpful in providing you with an additional opportunity to highlight strengths that may or may not come through during the questioning.

What do you perceive are my greatest potential strengths and possible weakness if I were to fill this position?

Most of us have been in an interview and watched as a hiring manager or committee members jotted down notes as we gave responses to questions. It’s a sure bet your strengths and weaknesses are being noted. Chances are also good that 3-6 other candidates are being interviewed. On the other hand, asking about an area they feel may be weak will allow you to counter that concern. This question will help you stay fresh in the prospective employer’s mind as you ask them to reflect on your strengths.

What is the best aspect of working for this company? What is the most challenging?

These two questions can help you get a better handle on what the organization is like and where you may fit in. Share your enthusiasm for the best aspect while offering ways you might assist with the most challenging area. Maybe the organization is in need of someone who can handle social media outreach, and you volunteered to run the Facebook and Twitter accounts as a volunteer for a nonprofit.

Is there any other information or documentation I can provide to support my candidacy? May I share one more way I believe I may be of assistance if offered this position?

Toward the end of the interview, it doesn’t hurt to double-check if there is something else you can provide to strengthen your application. Also, if there is something on your mind that you wish they would ask you but they haven’t, offer the information. Be sure this is related to the job requirements, however.

What are the next steps?

End the interview with an action plan in place. You want to emphasize being part of the team and that you are anxious to get started. You also need to leave the interview with some idea of when to expect to hear from the potential employer again.

In general, each of the above questions is designed to help you and the potential employer get acquainted and comfortable with one another. Becoming an engaged part of the team during the interview will help ensure you become a part of their organization.

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