Lynda Spiegel, founder of New York City-based Rising Star Resumes, once was asked by a job candidate to prioritize the projects that would be assigned to the role in question. The candidate, who was interviewing for a junior marketing position, then offered insights into how she'd address each project in stages to avoid lag times.
“Her discussion showed she had done her research and knew what our resources were as well as our strengths and weaknesses,” Spiegel says. “Candidates who've made a point of investigating a prospective employer's projects and programs and can speak to how they'd contribute show me that they're thinking like one of us.”
Each question you ask your interviewer should also be an opportunity to talk about how you meet what they’re looking for. Ask these four questions—and then follow up on their answers.
“How will my success be measured?”
Asking this question will help you find out more about how success is defined, says Laurie Genevish of Marietta, Georgia-based Performance Difference. A company’s management and recognition of achievement say a lot about its culture. Plus the answer will give you a sense of whether you’re a good fit and whether you will enjoy the new work environment. Most importantly, you can show how you’ve had successes on the same performance indicators.
Turn it to your advantage: “I too like to use my sales growth percentage as a gauge of my own performance—when I hit 20% growth in the first six months of the year, I knew I was delivering results.”
“In this role, how much impact can I have on the end user?”
Obviously, before you enter into an interview setting, you have to have done your homework. But go one step beyond learning what a business does to make money or satisfy customers. Find out about the company’s brand philosophy, and how that philosophy applies to the position.
And of course, demonstrate how you will add value.
Turn it to your advantage: “I’m glad to hear this company thinks critically about social media. Having run several successful social campaigns, I’m confident about my ability to quickly understand an audience and deliver while keeping brand voice in mind.”
“What’s your history with the company?”
Seeking personal insights from the people who are interviewing you—whether a human resources representative, the hiring manager or a department head—can give you clues about how the company works. If the person interviewing you would be your boss, you might want to ask about their management style or how they define success.
Crystal Batya Marsh of Los Angeles-based Millennial Career Coach says that questions along these lines can allow you to get to know someone you may be working for, find out what they enjoy about their job and the organization—and most importantly, show how your own experiences or interests align.
Turn it to your advantage: “It sounds like the culture here really fosters development and learning. I value that a lot and look forward to opportunities to learn more.”
“Do you have any concerns or final questions?”
“Always, always ask if the person interviewing you has any concerns about any of your abilities to perform the job," says Chantal Bechervaise of Ottawa, Ontario-based TakeItPersonelly.com
“I have had great experiences asking this question, as it makes the interviewer reflect upon the interview on the spot,” she says. “Generally they will respond honestly to the question, which provides you one last opportunity to sell yourself.”
If the interviewer brings up any issues, you then have the opportunity to clarify or add examples of how you’re capable and have the skills necessary to perform the job.
Turn it to your advantage: “I know I haven’t had a lot of experience in social media in my work, but I have used Twitter to promote the charity I volunteer with on weekends, and have increased their followers by 20% in the last year.
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