Prepare Your Own Questions for the Interview

Remember, the interview is a two-way street. You are there to learn more about the position and company, and determine if the position is a good fit for you. Keeping this in mind can help keep the interview in perspective, also, so remember that part of your role in the interview is to learn as much as you can.

There are a number of canned questions that you may have heard you should ask of your interviewer. Frankly, these are good questions; but after these initial questions, seek to ask a few original ones as well. An example of a question that everyone asks is, "What are you looking for in a candidate?" or something along those lines. This is a great question if you are sincere; however, because everyone has been told to ask that question, it can sound like something you read about in a book. Try to get creative when wording your questions or at least more direct. "Do you feel I meet your desired criteria for the position?" is one way to reword this question to your advantage. If the answer is yes, you are obviously a serious contender. If no, ask for clarification, and then explain why you do in fact meet the needs. If the interviewer says you lack technical skills, for example, show that you are a quick learner and give an example of a situation when you needed to learn something quickly, how you went about doing so (action) and succeeded (result).

Because you did your company research before the interview, you can have a list of questions prepared that you would like to ask. Undoubtedly, some of those questions will be answered throughout the interview, but not all. Ask those that are still unanswered. Also take notes throughout the interview and make note of questions that arise. You can ask those questions as well. This is also the time to ask for clarification on any points that arose during the interview about which you would like more information.

One question you should never fail to ask comes at the close of the interview. This is when you ask, "What are the next steps?" or "When can I expect to hear from you?" Do not leave the interview open-ended. Find out what the timeframe is and what the next phase of the interviewing process will be. Restate your interest in the position and thank your interviewers for their time. Then go home and write your thank you letter or letters.