Six Smart Questions You Should Ask at Your Next Interview

Some standard must-do's from the job search process, like dressing professionally and sending a post-interview follow-up thank you are here to stay. The interview itself is pretty straightforward, but at the end of the chat, there's one last opportunity to leave a lasting impression: "Do you have any questions?" Ask nothing and you risk appearing uninteresting or worse, uninterested. Ask disingenuous questions and they'll see right through it. Here are some excellent, thought-provoking questions that will seal your deal as an intentional and curious must-hire.

I saw you worked at Company A for 10 years before this, but how did you get started in this industry, and why did you make the move to this company?

Show you went above and beyond the standard company research (while still skipping a complete recap of their career journey) and they will not only be grateful for your preparation, but will also appreciate your interest. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and inquiring about someone's beginnings reminds them of the often winding path they took. Asking a question like this allows them to leave with an empathetic and understanding attitude towards this meeting. 

What types of personalities are the best fit for this role?

The answer to this question, while potentially not your preferred response, will give great insight into the type of person who is most likely to succeed in the role. If the given response is a distant description of yourself, maybe reconsider your interest, or be intentional about favoring certain habits and personality traits so you are better prepared for the challenges.

Can you give me an example of a time someone in this role failed? What did they do wrong and what could be done differently? 

The answer to this question can be incredibly revealing. Not only will you hear specifics about a situation of disappointment for the employer, but you'll get insight on how they respond to conflict and challenges. Their answer will give a peek into how you'd be treated when failure is involved. Pay careful attention to how the employee was notified of any issues and what opportunities they were given to remedy the situation.

How do you ensure your team is continuously growing and learning new skills?

Burnout and stagnation are huge causes for job dissatisfaction and abandonment. A company that invests in their employees' skills and creativity is one worth joining. Find out what opportunities they encourage so you know the team you're joining will not only be professionally motivated, but also encouraged creatively.

Is there anything in my background that gives you concerns about my ability to fit well in this role?

Possessing an openness to feedback and a willingness to confront issues head on displays your worth as a collaborative team player. Addressing their concerns directly is an opportunity to exemplify the persona detailed on your resume: a well-adjusted professional who's willing to improve themself.

How often do employees receive evaluations and feedback?

Asking if they have a structure in place for company reviews and employee feedback provides you with an expectation for your first evaluation of success in the role, as well as an early understanding of how much they value the employee-employer relationship. You could also discover that their structure includes post-project debriefs to review anything that came up while it's still fresh in everyone's minds.

As a job seeker, having a supply of good questions can be what distinguishes you from the crowd. Be remembered, be intriguing, and be a promising candidate when you start with some of the suggested questions here.