Asking questions in the interview shows your interest in the job, as well as your intelligence and enthusiasm. The answers you get will uncover information you need, and make the interview conversation flow. Related: How To Answer 5 Tricky Job Interview Questions However, two questions in particular will do more for you in the interview than any others. You may not have ever asked these questions in your job interviews, but you absolutely should because they will help you get the job.
1. What would a perfect candidate for this job look like?Toward the beginning of the interview, you want to ask about what they really want. What would an ideal person for this job have? A certain education? A special background? Particular experience? Whatever it is, you want to know: What would a perfect person for this job look like? It may seem counter-intuitive to ask about their perfect person, because you're not perfect. Why should you highlight your shortcomings? Don't worry…that isn't what you're doing here. What you're doing is finding out what this hiring manager (your interviewer) really cares about. Once you know what that is, you can talk about the things in your background that align with that. The reality is that this interviewer already has his or her perfect person in mind, and the candidate who gets closest to that 'wins.' By asking straight out about this imaginary ideal, you give yourself a huge advantage in the candidate competition.
2. Based on what we've talked about today, do you agree that I would be successful in this job?This is the question you ask as the interview is beginning to wind down. Basically, you're asking, “So how did I do?" This kind of question is called a 'closing' question. It's a technique borrowed from sales reps, who ask this kind of question to close the sale—they are asking for the business. Has the customer made up their mind, or is there something else they need to know? The reason this kind of question works in job interviews is because the job interview process itself is a sales process. You are essentially a 'product' for sale that provides some kind of solution or feature that the company (the customer) needs. What you are going for with this question is one of two different outcomes:
- You will prompt them to say, “Yes, I can see you being successful," in which case they become an advocate for hiring you after you leave, significantly boosting your chances of actually getting the offer.
- You will get them to say, “I'm not sure because of _____." This is a much harder answer to hear, but it's still good. Whether you hear this answer or not, they are thinking it—and they will be thinking it after you leave. Find out what their doubts are about you now, while you have a chance to change their mind. Sometimes their objection or doubt about you is something you can't change—but sometimes it is something you can correct. Maybe you forgot to mention something in your background that they wanted to hear, or maybe they have some misconception about you. When you correct whatever that is, you can get you the job offer when you would otherwise have lost it.