10 August 2016
When you reach the end of an interview, you’ll likely be asked, “Do you have any questions for me?” While this is a tempting time to breathe a sigh of relief, this is the moment to go above and beyond and leave a lasting positive impression on your interviewer. Not only can you showcase your knowledge of the industry and your analytical thinking with insightful questions, you can also ask personal questions that can make your potential manager feel valued. When you ask the right question, you can get your interviewer to speak passionately about their work or their industry, and they’ll leave the interview with a smile, knowing that you were really interested in what they had to say. Here are some questions you can ask to get your interviewer off-script as well as give you more valuable information: What has been one of your favorite projects at the company? Nothing gets a person talking quite like their passion for their work. Everyone has a good stand-out moment from their job, and you’ll learn what your potential supervisor loves most about their job through their experience. Your interviewer will appreciate that you care to listen, and they’ll recognize that you value meaningful contributions as well. Additionally, you’ll get a sense of what could be the most gratifying moments in your own role, should you receive an offer. What are some industry trends that are impacting your work? In the same light, your interviewer will appreciate that you value their perspective. For those who love the industry in which they work, they can speak endlessly about trends. As a result, you’ll not only get them talking, but you’ll also get insight on how they stay informed—and if they don’t, that’s a major red flag. This will also help you get a sense of your prospective employer’s plans for the future, and how you can be a part of it. What are some of the biggest pain points that this position can help address? While your interviewer hopefully enjoys their work, every job has a few pain points, and they are usually easily identified. Not only does this get the person off-script, but you also have the opportunity to present yourself as a potential solution to their problem. Additionally, this will help you get an understanding of where you may also run into challenges, should you accept the job—allowing you to prepare for any issues that may come your way. How has your background influenced how you approach your current role? If you’ve done your research, you can even pick out specific elements from their LinkedIn profile where you’d like more information. Perhaps they took an odd position or maybe they had a similar background to yours. No matter where they come from, this question will give your potential employer the opportunity to reflect on their favorite moments or lessons that have shaped who they have become. Plus, you may even learn something that can help you do your own job more effectively! What are some of the first projects you’d like the person in this role to tackle? For positions that have been vacant for some time, this question can be especially important. If a team is short-handed, they are probably overworked, and this puts a lot of strain on a manager. Your potential employer most likely knows exactly what they’d like you to start working on, and this is another opportunity to present yourself as a great fit for the role. Additionally, you’ll get an excellent idea of what your first few months might look like, helping you decide if this is a path you’d like to pursue.