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Want the job? Ask these interview questions.

Crumpled question marks heap

Have you ever been on a first date and your companion talks about him- or herself the entire time, never asking you anything about yourself so you can give a glimpse of how amazing you are?

At best, it’s dull, but at worst, it’s a total turn off. It sends the message that they’ve got poor manners, are full of themselves or just plain aren’t interested in you. And guess what? Hiring managers feel the same way during a job interview. The ultimate first date, a job interview is where you should dazzle them with your accomplishments and make the other party feel like they couldn’t imagine getting along without you.

Ask your interviewer these questions to show them they’ve met their match.

What brought you to this organization?
The editors of career blog Glassdoor.com suggest asking interviewers this question so you can learn what attracted them to the company. Hearing an insider’s perspective can give you insight about the organization and its values and answer other questions that you might not have known to ask.

Asking this question also can help you get to know the people who may end up being your future co-workers. Their answers may reveal a lot more about their own personalities and approaches to work than they do about the company itself, which may come in handy if you end up partnering on a project down the road. 

What’s the company culture like?
You spend most of your waking hours on the job, so you want to land somewhere that feels right, don’t you? It can be hard to know exactly what a company’s culture is like from the outside, but asking the right questions in advance can give you a glimpse inside its cubicles, cafeteria and conference rooms.

Pam Webster of Enterprise Rent-a-Car is pleased when job candidates ask about the company culture. After all, if you fit in at your new company, your chances of succeeding in your new position are that much better. And who wouldn’t want that?

What does success look like for this position?
As a savvy interview candidate, you’ve already read the job description and asked the hiring manager about the open position in great detail. But taking this line of questioning one step further shows the interviewer that you’re thinking beyond just landing the job. You’re picturing yourself thriving in it and making them look good along the way.

Forbes blogger Caroline Howard likes this question for a number of reasons. First, it gives you a look at what kind of boss your interviewer will be. It also teaches you more about the company culture than you might learn from asking about it directly. Perhaps most importantly, though, it can give you insight into how your performance will be measured once you’re in the role, something that usually isn’t outlined explicitly in the job description.

Can I have the job?
There’s no reason to be coy if you think you’re the best candidate for a job. Being direct can save both parties time, energy and the uncertainty that you might not be reading each other’s intentions correctly.

Tony Beshara, creator of thejobsearchsolution.com and author of Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You the Job, thinks being up-front makes sense for everyone. Though some people may disagree, he recommends telling interviewers there’s no reason to interview anyone else, and that you are the person they ought to hire.

Asking questions creates the two-way street of information that can not only shed light on who you are, but the company and people interviewing you. Just as your answers may help them determine whether you’re right for them, their answers might also help you determine whether they’re right for you.


For more interview questions and essentials, check out these articles:

What interviewers want to know

Be an interview rock star

Do you have an interview toolkit? Here’s what it needs to have.


Julie Wilson

Julie Wilson is the senior writer for Phoenix Focus, a freelance writer and communications professional.