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Seven words that strike fear into the hearts of many job seekers! You’ve applied for a great job, painstakingly crafted a targeted resume and cover letter, survived the telephone screen, and landed a face-to-face interview. You’ve researched the company, gone over the job description, rehearsed responses to common interview questions…you think you’ve covered all your bases, until the moment when the interview is drawing to a close and your interviewer throws to you for questions! Related: 5 Things Every Employer Wants To Hear In An Interview How you respond can seal your fate, so preparation is a must! If you’re frozen with fear or can’t think of a single question on the spot, you’re not alone – many job seekers falter at this part of the interview process. Don’t think of it as a trap or trick question: this is your chance to shine. With a little bit of preparation you’ll be armed and ready.

1. Never say “no”!

You should always ask questions. Saying “No” or “You’ve already answered them” makes you look like you’re just going through the motions, unprepared, or uninterested. Show your potential employer some enthusiasm and ask at least two or three questions.

2. Make a list.

Come up with at least a dozen questions to ask. Some will undoubtedly be covered during the interview, so make sure you’ve got a few up your sleeve so you’re not caught off guard.

3. Think before you ask.

Don’t ask questions that are easily found on the company’s website. It tells an employer straight away that you didn’t do your research. You need to develop a list of questions that shows you’ve prepared, and really thought about the role. You shouldn’t ask questions about salary, benefits, parking, social clubs, or sick leave. Your job is to impress the employer, not lead them to believe you are only concerned about the money or company’s social activities. Never simply ask, “So, did I get the job?” It sounds arrogant and puts the interviewer on the spot. Use the opportunity to better sell yourself as the right candidate by asking thought-provoking, intelligent questions.

4. Ask probing questions.

Try to ask open-ended questions rather than those that require a “yes” or “no” response. “Can you tell me about…?” “How would you describe…?” You’ll learn more that way, you can probe further, and it makes the interview more conversational.

5. Job interviews are a two-way street.

Yes, the employer is trying to determine whether you’d be a good “fit” for their team, but at the same time you need to learn whether or not this company would be a good “fit” for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that will help you determine this. Employers are impressed by aspiring employees who take the time to probe the employer.

6. Timing is essential.

The best interviews are conversational so you may be able to ask some of the questions on your list during the interview itself. Just be sure you don’t interrupt the interviewer in your haste to ask. If you are nearing the end of the interview, you may not have time to ask all of your questions. Don’t worry; just select a couple and see where it takes you.

Example Questions Include:

  • What do you enjoy most about working for this company?
  • If I were successful, what would you like me to have achieved in the first 3 months?
  • How would describe the culture here?
  • What would a typical day look like in this role?
  • How will my performance be measured?
  • What are the most important issues your company faces in the next 3, 6, or 12 months?
  • Why did the last person leave this role?
  • Do you have any specific concerns about my ability to do the job?
  • What kind of people do well in your company?
Developing a list of questions for the interviewer should be part of your interview preparation. It will show the employer you are keen, you’ve thought about the role in detail, and that you’ve gone the extra mile to prepare. A strategy that makes you stand out from other applicants. This post was originally published on an earlier date.

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