There is nothing quite like an interview that fires question after question at you from start to finish.

Interviews are not interrogations or inquisitions, so if that is what your last interview felt like, it likely did not go very well. Interviews are conversations, plain and simple. Many people are not sure how to make interviews conversational when questions are coming fast and furious.

Your best approach is to ask questions that reverse the flow of conversation. Asking questions during an interview, as opposed to the end,  is a great way to show you are prepared and demonstrates you can think on your feet.  Don’t be abrupt but asking questions during an interview also gives you a chance to learn more. Establish a conversational pattern with solid, logical, upbeat questions throughout the interview.

Here are some of the best questions you can ask to keep interviews conversational.

  • What are you hoping the ideal candidate will accomplish in their first six months?

The answer here can help you learn more specifics about what you will be doing and spawns additional conversation about expectations. Learning about a company’s expectations provides a road map to success.

  • How do you measure success or how is success in this position measured?

This question shows you are interested in results and the answer often provides a blueprint of what you will need to meet expectations.

  • Thinking back to great performers in this role, what differentiated employees who were good from employees who were great?”

This question shows you are aiming for a high level of success, which any employer will appreciate.

  • What are some of the challenges the ideal candidate will face?

The answer to this question may reveal aspects of the job you would not normally hear. Perhaps you will learn something that deters you from the job like your manager is difficult to deal with or your departmental budget is sparse.

  • How would you describe the company culture?

You will get a standard answer but if you pay close attention, the answer can reveal qualities the company is seeking that might otherwise not have been revealed. Sometimes it’s what they don’t say that counts.

  • What can you tell me about your experience at this company?

Here, the answer is not so much the content as the way the answer is delivered. It is not hard to tell if the person interviewing you has had a very good or only a moderate experience. This is an important way to find out if this is the right spot for you.

  •  What’s your timeline for next steps?

This came up in our last article which covered asking about your performance at the end of an interview, which we don’t endorse. While it’s useful to know when you can expect to hear back, regardless of the answer, recruiting is an inexact science with a flexible timetable. So be flexible!