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African American man and South Asian women at a job interview

Successfully preparing for a job interview includes being ready to answer questions. However, many people make the crucial mistake of going into an interview without questions to ask back to the interviewer. Asking the right questions during an interview is just as important as providing the right answers.

Why should a candidate ask questions?

Having a set of questions to ask shows that the candidate has done their research on that place of employment. This shows that they are seriously interested in the job and demonstrates their drive to excel in the position. Asking questions also gives the candidate the opportunity to determine if they could see themselves working for that company or organization. Not asking questions could send a signal to the interviewer that the candidate is unprepared.

Tips for Asking Questions

Interviews should be conducted like a normal conversation between two people, with both people asking and answering questions. The candidate should follow the interviewer’s lead but give priority to giving information about themselves. It is important to understand that the interviewer(s) will more than likely expect a candidate to ask questions.

Consider preparing a list of five to ten questions ahead of time. Having this list will help a candidate remember the questions in case they get nervous and forget. It also allows the candidate to keep track of what questions they ask throughout the interview, allowing them to circle back to the ones that don’t arise out of the normal flow of the conversation.

Suggested questions to ask during an interview include inquiring about the company, potential training and advancement opportunities, the duties of the job, the interviewer, and competitors. The following are some questions that people can ask in an interview:

  • Are there any significant challenges to working with this organization?
  • What type of people typically succeed with this company or organization?
  • What is the company/organization’s policy regarding training new employees?
  • Are there opportunities for professional training or further education, particularly to keep up with new technology?
  • How will success be defined for this job?
  • What would a typical day on this job look like?
  • What has your personal career path at the company/organization been like?
  • What makes you want to keep working here?
  • Who is your biggest competitor?
  • What differentiates you from your competitors?

 

For additional information on interviewing, or other workforce development topics, visit the Alabama Extension website at www.aces.edu or contact the workforce development team at aceshse@auburn.edu.

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