interview 4Asking questions in an interview is one of the most important things you can do. It enables you to gather valuable information and also allows you to control the direction of the interview to a certain degree. Here are 9 questions you should ask an interviewer.

How would you define “success” for this position?
Showing that you don’t just want the job but want to know what it takes to succeed in the position is a must. The answer to this question will also give you information that can be used for later answers, in this interview or subsequent ones. Discuss examples of past accomplishments that match up with the interviewer’s definition of success for the position.  

What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
This question shows you are thinking long term and want to be a valuable contributor to the company. The answer to this question may also help you determine whether the company is a good fit for your long term career goals.

What can I tell you about my qualifications?
Most interviewers won’t show all of their cards, waiting to see if you will provide them with the right information to justify making you a job offer. This question may draw out any information he/she is looking for that you haven’t yet discussed. It will also give you some insight into what is really important to the interviewer in terms of qualifications.

What are the biggest challenges the person in this position will face?
Taking on challenges is a key to success at work and life in general. And vocalizing, up front, that you want to hear the challenges the position presents demonstrates your willingness to take them on. It also allows you an opportunity to offer some potential ways you might deal with them. A win-win for you and the interviewer.

How would you describe the culture here? What type of people tend to really thrive, and what type don’t do as well?
Another great question that will help uncover what makes for a successful employee at the company. Again, make sure you tailor your answers to highlight the ways that you would fit in with their culture.

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How would you describe your management style?
Everyone likes to talk about themselves and interviewers are no different. Finding out a manager’s style and then relating a story from your past work experience that demonstrates your comfort with his/her style can set you apart from the pack.

What would a successful first year in the position look like?
Similar to the first question, the answer to this question should give you some concrete answers about projects and goals. Be sure to take notes while the interviewer lists the projects and goals that should be accomplished in the first year. This is invaluable information for subsequent interviews with other stakeholders and follow up communications.

What have been the main characteristics of your favorite employees?
Everyone prefers to work with people that they like and managers are no exception. This question will go a long way towards helping you decide if your working style is a good fit with the manager.

What was the company’s most strategic decision made in the last year? Could you describe how they came to this decision?
Showing that you are interested in the big picture can set you apart from other candidates who are simply interested in the job. Every manager wants people working for them that understand how their position impacts the company as a whole. Demonstrating this in an interview will enable you to have discussions about the company that other candidates won’t be having.

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