Any recruitment consultant worth his or her weight in gold should stress the importance of you asking good questions during a job interview - it is the X-factor of a successful job interview. A word of caution. Not just any question will do. This is not an invitation to indulge in verbal diarrhoea. Good questions that are the result of focus and research are more likely to position you as the more preferred candidate for the job. It also gives you the opportunity of having some manner of control in a situation that often has most job seekers feel out of control.
Traditionally in the job application process, the quality of your answers was a critical factor that determined whether you got the job or not. Asking good questions in the job interview is now the new answer. Your questions for the interviewer speak volumes of how smart you are.
Is your lack of questions holding you back from your dream job?
Researching the company you are interviewing at is a critical step in the job application process. Research can generate a list of possible questions you can ask. Questions on the company history, achievements, industry leader and mission statement are all questions that indicate your genuine interest in the organisation you aim to work for.
If asking questions is not your forte, and the weak link in your job application process, then now is a good time to start developing this sometimes forgotten skill. Like all other important communication skills, it takes practise to perfect. There are many ways of asking effective questions.
Tips on how to prepare asking good questions in a job interview
- Practise asking questions you have prepared with friends or family members before the interview. (If there is no one else to practise on, you can always rely on bending the ears of your beloved pet that has only unconditional love for you).
- Write down your questions if you’re afraid you will forget them.
- Ask one question at a time. Don’t ask multiple questions at one go which can only bring about confusion. You also may not get all of your questions answered.
- If you’re struggling to start identifying strategic questions from a wealth of overwhelming information, make use of questions starters such as ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘When’, ‘Where’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ to help you.
Types of effective job interview questions
The type of questions you ask may just be what differentiates you as the better candidate from all the other applicants. Here are some of the good questions you can ask during the job interview:
- Ask for examples
Ask about the type of employees employed at the company. What are some of their qualities that make them successful?
- Include open-ended questions
Asking open-ended questions can lead to further helpful questions that can clarify an issue. This type of questioning provides you with additional information and clarity.
- Response questions
Although you can’t really anticipate the questions that will be asked, try your best to ask response or probing questions. This is important to show that you have been listening as well as your interest in what is being discussed.
- Questions on training and career opportunities
These questions indicate your ambitiousness and that you’re thinking about the future.
- Questions on how the company measures successful employees
Your interviewer gets the idea of how much you value and aim to be successful.
Job candidates may remember to research the prospective company. It is equally important to research the job description you have applied for. Having job specific questions never fails to show how prepared you are. Identify the skills needed in each of the duties or responsibilities. Ask yourself where you have used those particular skills and remember to draw on them in the interview.
Asking good questions indicate to the interviewer the special qualities that you possess, such as:
- How effective your communication skills are
- The intelligent way in which your mind processes information
- Believe it or not, your listening skills
- Your motivations for wanting the job, and
- The value you will bring to the job, company or industry
- Your work ethic
- Good questions point to your creativity
Just as important in a job interview is your effective questioning skills, are the answers you give. Your answers, like your good questions, can reveal your excitement and enthusiasm for the job you have applied for.
What are some of the good questions you have asked in a job interview?
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