Five Questions to Ask to End Your Interview on a High Note

During the last minutes of a job interview, most hiring managers like to turn the tables and give the candidate a chance to ask a few questions about the position and the company. Choosing the right questions can help you appear smart and capable in the eyes of your interviewer.

More importantly, focused questions let you take advantage of the moment to determine if this job is the right match for you. Here are five questions that can help you accomplish both goals.

How will my success be measured on this job?

Get a sense of the metrics that will used to evaluate your performance every month or year. These performance indicators may determine how quickly you advance and the potential for salary increases every year. You’ll want to hear a list of expectations that are agreeable, measurable and play to your strengths. Consider it a red flag if this question confuses your employer, or if they suggest measures of success which are vague and subjective.

How would you identify truly great performers here from merely good ones?

This will let your interviewer know that you plan to reach for the stars here, not just submit the minimum. This question can also help you launch into the position on the right foot by prioritizing the accomplishments that will get you noticed.

What are some of the most challenging or discouraging aspects of this position?

Not every job can be perfect all day, every day. Even the best positions sometimes involve rough days or tasks that are unpleasant, unsafe, undignified, tedious or troubling. Ask your interviewer to share some of these tasks and listen to the answer carefully. Read between the lines. You may be surprised; the “worst” tasks may not be what you expected. In the best-case scenario, you and your interviewer may discover that you’re uniquely suited to this role – on good days and bad.

What are some challenges the department is looking to address right now?

While your success in many cases will be determined in the long run, being able to deliver early results can make you extremely valuable to employers. In some cases, you may be able to research current events in your industry and ask an interviewer how the company is responding. Asking about current issues offers you a chance to find opportunities to show immediate impact, and you may even have the opportunity to walk through solutions you could provide.

Address your top concern.

You don’t have to talk about salary just yet, but if there’s anything about this job or company that you’d like to shine a light on, do so now. For example: if you live more than an hour away, will the company offer flexible hours or coverage for commuting costs? If you’ve heard rumors of financial trouble, can the interviewer reassure you that the company’s foundations are strong? If you have issues with the company’s reputation, future plans, business practices or anything else, ask now. At the completion of the interview, ask for decision timeline.

For more on how to make the most of your interview session and get the information you need, turn to the job search pros at Executive Alliance.

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