Distinguish Yourself with Killer Questions

Your interview performance will be judged on many factors from your confident smile and handshake to your ability to successfully answer basic interview questions. However, don’t overlook the opportunity to ask some killer questions and impress the hiring manager or internship coordinator. Usually at the end of an interview, hiring managers will ask if you have any questions.  This is your final chance to shine.

Your interviewer will be very interested to know what type of questions you ask. Stay away from questions about yourself, your pay, hours or company benefits. Some of these questions may be appropriate after you receive an offer but certainly not in an interview situation.  Examples of things not to ask duriing an interview include:

  • Do I have to attend any meetings after hours or work late?
  • What is the exact pay?
  • What is the sick policy?
  • What time would I be able to leave on Fridays?

Instead you want your questions to be more strategic and thoughtful about the business. You want to show your interest in being part of the team that is devoted to growing or improving the opportunities for the company or organization. These questions should demonstrate your interest and focus. Also don’t ask questions that are clearly explained on the company website. Have 7-10 solid questions at the ready. If you have already discussed a few of them during the interview you will need extras. You want to avoid saying that you have no questions.

Your questions should show you have done some pre-interview reseach. You will be spending some time on the company website and social media sites. Follow them on whatever social media sites you use: Twitter, Facebook or their LinkedIn Company page. Be sure your profile is  appropriate before you “follow”. Many CEO’s and other executives are blogging now.  By going through those posts you should be able to develop some interesting questions that show your keen interest and ability to ask a great question.

Examples of questions that show your research:

  • (To ask a Marketing manager) I recently became a Facebook fan of your company, I learned that your company is expanding into Latin America at a rapid pace.  Can you tell me how your department supports that new growth initiative?
  • I just read the blog article written by your CEO last Tuesday.  What is your opinion of X issue that he mentioned? Can you give me some additional insight?
  • I read that the biggest new opportunity in your industry is related to  X. How is your company pursuing this?

Here are some additional ones that are good general questions to ask:

  • What are your department goals and how do you expect a successful intern to contribute to your goals?
  • Can you describe the first week of the internship?
  • What training or development opportunities are planned or could be developed

What is your killer question?

Plan on doing the research up front to develop great questions. Write them down and have them in your folio during your interview. Hiring managers and recruiters will be impressed that you have prepared questions for the end of the interview. Prepare to shine!

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Sandra Long

Sandra Long is the author of the bestselling book LinkedIn For Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide. She is also the managing partner of Post Road Consulting LLC. Sandra and her team work with corporations, universities, and individuals to drive successful sales, career, and talent acquisition results.

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