Asking the Right Questions in Your Interview

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This week, Ashley Hoover, Market Manager for Los Angeles talks about asking questions in an interview.

One common mistake we see candidates make in their interviews is that they fail to ask questions, especially the right ones. Avoid this common interview mistake and set yourself apart from other candidates by preparing quality questions in advance. By asking questions, you actually accomplish several things: you demonstrate your interest in the company and preparedness for the interview. Most importantly though, your questions will help you shift the conversation from a one-way interrogation to a two-way conversation. Conversation-style interviews are a big indicator of a successful interview, especially if the interview lasts for thirty minutes or more.

It’s wise to prepare some questions that will show that you’ve done your homework. Try to ask open-ended but targeted questions such as, “I read recently that Workway just acquired BancForce. What steps can someone in my position take to help make it a smooth transition?” Questions like this show a certain level of research and forethought, but most importantly they suggest to the interviewer that you are proactive in solving problems, and that you are eager to take initiative in your new role.

Another set of questions to consider may be questions regarding the dynamics of the department/company and what you can expect in your position. A question such as, “What happened to the last person in this position?” may reveal a lot about what exactly is expected of you and how you can best full the company’s needs. Similarly, consider asking something along the lines of “What were the main strengths and weaknesses of the previous person in this position?” This kind of question helps you better understand the responsibilities of the job and lets you adjust the qualities that you emphasize in the interview to better align with the qualities your interviewer desires.

One important question to avoid is the question of salary. Seeming overly eager to discuss salary may suggest that you’re only there for a paycheck. Regardless of whether that’s true or not, it’s not the impression you want to give. If the interviewer asks you early on what you are expecting to make, you may want to answer carefully; Mention the industry average and use your qualifications and experience to set an appropriate range. Salary expectations can be an easy way to disqualify a candidate, so be sure you’ve made a strong case for yourself before you start negotiating.

As your interview draws to an end, one useful question to end on may be something along the lines of “At this point, do you have any concerns about my ability to do well in this position?” Asking this question can give you a glimpse of how well the interview has gone so far. Most importantly, if the interviewer does mention any weaknesses, you have an opportunity to rebut them. Take advantage of this information and do your best to instill confidence that you are a strong candidate. After the interview is over and you are writing your thank you letter, you can use this feedback to further strengthen your case. Lastly, at the very end of the interview, be sure to ask what the next steps in the process are. This will give you more of an idea as to how well the interview went.

Want even more help with your job search? At Workway, we do our best to give candidates every possible advantage in their quest for career opportunities. If you think you may be interested in learning about all that we have to offer, register on our website at