4 Questions You Must Ask at Your Next Job Interview

by Megan Brame on 19 September 2013 1 comment

Job interviews can be stressful. Quite often you've focused so much of your energy on making a good impression that the last portion of the interview, when you can ask questions, can leave you with a deer-in-headlights look and make you feel like you've wasted any goodwill from the interviewer. Here are four questions to ask during an interview that will show your interest in the company and the position and demonstrate your potential as an employee. (See also: How to Answer the Most Common Interview Questions)

1. "While Researching the Company, I Stumbled on X and Was Intrigued. Can You Expand on That?"

This shows the interviewer that you've done your research on the company and have taken the time to learn about its history. Just make sure "X" is something they would want to expand on, not a scandal or embarrassing business moment. (See also: 5 Things to Learn About the Company Before Your Interview)

2. "Do You Have Any Examples of Projects I Would Be Working On?"

While this presents you as someone that is interested in diving head-first into the position, it also gives you a better idea if this is a role you can see yourself handling. Sometimes, the answer to this question can help you realize that this isn't the position for you.

3. "Is This Position New to the Company?"

While this question may not inherently seem useful, the follow-ups to it can give you some insight into the path for this position.

If it's not a new position, ask: "What has the previous person gone on to do?"

This can help you find out if the job has been laid out and was the start of someone's ascent at the company, or if it was a dead end job where the last person decided to move on to something else. (See also: 10 Signs That Your Job Sucks)

If it's a completely new position, ask: "Why was the position created?"

Was it to help take some burden off of another employee? Is the company embracing new technology that you would be in charge of? Finding out the company's motivation for creating the position can give you some idea on how they will view you in that role.

4. "What Does a Typical Workday or Workweek Look Like for a Person in This Position?"

The answer to this can help you flush out what kind of work the company will expect from this position. Will you be involved in day-to-day, nitty gritty tasks, or will you spend a lot of time in meetings, getting to have your ideas heard? Also, it can help you understand if this position is very regimented or if there is room for you to have a more fluid role at the company. (See also: 3 Rules for Starting a New Job)

Topics to Avoid

In the preliminary interview, it's best to assume the company has no scandals or hidden skeletons in its history (even if you know better). Asking questions regarding proprietary information, competitive strategies, or asking about dark spots on their record may come across as inappropriate and endanger your chances of getting the job.

Lastly, do your research on the company ahead of time. Sometimes bad questions are worse than no questions at all. Don't ask about basic information that is readily available on the company website or via Google.

Stay positive about yourself, the interviewer, and the company. Good luck!

What questions have helped you land the job?

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For jobs that are lower paying, the question I would ask is: "How will I get paid and will it be by direct deposit or check?" This may not seem like a question nessasary to ask, but for a lower paying job they may be trying to pay you via debit card. The debit card comes with fees for everything, including inactivity, so basicly these cards are getting a slice of your paycheck. This is a legal scam.

I became alerted to it when I was eating lunch at a Boston Market and there was a manager there at one of the tables trying to fix a problem with one of her employee debit cards. I had never heard of them, so I took a look at them on my phone. It's a scam that plays on people who can't aford to lose any of their paycheck.