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Ask Effective Interview Questions

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An often overlooked step in preparing for a job interview is to think about questions you can ask the interviewer.

See also: 10 tough interview questions.

Asking questions is a way of showing what you can contribute to the employer. When you ask the questions, you help to shape the conversation. Your queries give you the chance to set yourself apart from the competition—and to figure out whether or not you want this job.

Tips for Asking Questions

  • Respond to the interviewer’s cues. Don’t ask questions where the answer is obvious or readily available—or when the topic has already been thoroughly discussed.
  • Ask questions during the conversation, taking your cues from how it is evolving. Don’t bunch all your queries at the end of the interview.
  • Always have at least one question ready. When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, the worst answer you can give is “No.”
  • Don’t expect to ask all your questions in the first interview. Keep more detailed questions for the second interview.

What Questions Should You Ask in an Interview?

The following questions are examples, not a script. Always respond to what the interviewer is saying; don’t just ask questions out of the blue.

1. Ask for details about priorities and problems that need to be solved.

 Examples: “What are this job’s priorities for the first few months?” and “What are the most important problems that you’d like the person in this job to solve?”

These questions show that…

  • You're a team player.
  • The employer’s priorities are important to you.

2. Clarify the interviewer’s questions before answering.

Examples: “Before I answer, can you give me more details on that?” or “As I understand it, the question you’re asking is…. Is that right?”

These questions show that…

  • You take time to understand a problem before acting.
  • You pay attention to what others are saying.

3. Anticipate concerns that the interviewer has yet to address.

Examples: “Can I explain anything about my experience or background?” or “Do you have any concerns about my qualifications that I can address now?”

These questions show that…

  • You’re confident and take initiative.
  • You are willing to respond to the interviewer’s concerns.

Next: How should you ask questions about work culture? >>

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