You've just passed the PE and are itching for another job. Whether you are preparing for a new job or you have one under your belt and you are looking to move up in the company there is a tension in the room about questions that are going to come up during the interview.
Can you feel it?
It doesn't matter if you like it or not, there are decisions being made about you and based on how you respond to questions that are going to be asked. While I can't help with all of the question that are going to be thrown at you I can help with the most common one:
DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR US??
Do you want to know what the best and worst responses are? Let's check them out.
Let's first state that the majority of people going through an interview rarely ask anything when the hiring manager asks "do you have any questions for us?" You don't want to blow it so you usually just state something like, "I think you've answered everything I had questions to. Thanks for your time!" Or something lame like that.
Let's take our skills to the next level and ask some more thought provoking questions that will guarantee that they don't forget who you are. In fact, this will most likely land you the job because you are doing something that no one else is doing. You're taking it to the next level.
So, when that final question finds itself placed in your lap, let's review the worst and best responses ever. Starting with the worst:
WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO?
Yes, that's a terrible question (in a Charles Barkley voice). Not only does this show your lack of preparation but you show no reguard for the company that you want to work for. It communicates that you don't care, you're not interested, and well, I'm just going to be this way if I work for you too. I just flat out don't care much.
Get prepared, go to their website and figure out what they do, what they're working on and get familiar with their projects. Can you imagine how an interview would go if you asked how a specific project is going or how you think you could contribute with a project they have on the books. See, that much better than sounding like you don't know what the heck is going on.
WHAT IS THE PAY FOR THE POSITION?
This is also a terrible question to hit them with. If you are asking about the pay right at this point in the interview then you've just tossed them some sour lemonade that they can't get the taste out.
A well prepared candidate should know what kind of benefits that they are likely to get and should know the rough salary that they are looking to get for the position. This can all be negotiated afterward; like when an actual offer has been made!
The interview should be focused on your skills, what you're bringing to the table, and how you can help the company grow to achieve it's goals. It isn't about the benefits, the pay, or anything else at this time. That will come later.
ASKING NOTHING AT ALL.
Whoops. They just asked you if you had any more questions and you just sat there thinking. And then you just thew out that you didn't have any more questions like 97% of all the other candidates. While this is a common mistake and might not cost you to the total interview, if you would have just asked a question you would leave a impression on their minds, the likes of which nobody else has done.
Don't just twiddle you thumbs and ask nothing. Let's do a better job here. Even a bad response or question is better than nothing.
Keep in mind that the hiring manager and those interviewing you are just people. They wake up and they put on pants just like you do. If you can communicate with them in some sort of exchange of words it will do a world of good for you. Don't make the mistake of saying nothing at all.
With all of that said and done let's get to what you should be asking:
FIRST GOOD QUESTION
What qualities are the most important to you when measuring a candidates success with the company?
Why do you think this works? For one, it shows that you are very interested in measuring up to what they want and even if you don't possess all the skills they are looking for you are basically stating that you are willing to get there.
You are also asking them to give you the keys to the kingdom, sort of speak. By asking this question the hiring manager will tell you exactly what they want. What's better than that?
SECOND GOOD QUESTION
I've recently talked to _____________ and have learned that some of the biggest challenges for this position are ________________. What have you done or are currently doing to address those? What are some things that have worked or not worked and what did you like about them?
or more simply:
I've learned some of the biggest challenges with this job are _____________. What are some things you used to tackle this and what has been learned?
Why do you think this works? Are you noob looking to try learn about the position? Nope. Are you familiar with the position and its demands? Yep. Did you come prepared for the interview? Booyah.
This answer is cool, crisp, collected, researched and just plane awesome. This says you are someone that can hit the ground running. You don't need to be told what to do and how to do it. You've just made this a very easy decision for them. They want someone that knows what they're doing and can come in and just do it. In one big nutshell this answer says all of that.
THIRD GOOD QUESTIONS
I recently read that you won the award for ____________. What are you doing to continue to set the bar in your industry?
You're pulling out the "I've done research" card again. You're blasting any notion that you don't know anything about the company. This shows that you are not any sort or random person but that you are genuinly interested in this postion and the company. You care and in turn they will care for you. You will take ownership and responsibility, you care where the company goes and you want to help them get there.
This says you want to be part of the team and what hiring manager doesn't want that? Most people barely understand anything about the position and the company. You just set the bar for the candidate that they want.
And there you have it. These are really good questions to ask and not to ask during an interview. If you can think of others then I'd love to hear about it. The goal is to think of a well crafted question. Don't just leave these things to random happenstance. Think about them, be prepared for them, and you will blow the competition out of the water. Come to think of it, that's just like studying for the PE exam. Be prepared!