Employers prefer inquisitive applicants. When applicants ask questions, it shows their interest in a company as well as their communication abilities, especially if they ask the right questions.

Actually, there are two benefits if you ask the right questions in a job interview.

Firstly, you shine compared to your competing job seekers. Secondly, you get the right information to make the best decision.

For interviewing success, it’s best if you know how to differentiate yourself. If you’ve ever accepted an offer for the wrong job, you know it’s a pain.

Either way, it’s in your best interest to learn more about the company and the position before accepting a job offer.

Chances are you’ll be interviewed by more than one person. When in doubt, ask them each the same questions so you can compare their answers.

Here are key questions to ask:

1. What have former employees done to be successful in this job?

You’ll probably learn important points. For instance, you’ll learn the expectations of the company.

Moreover, you’ll learn something about the company’s culture. You might also learn how and why the previous person succeeded or failed.

2. How has the job evolved?

More than likely, you’ll learn whether it’s a dead-end position. If you’re not ambitious, OK. But if you’re ambitious, you’ll want to know if it’s a position offering potential — a catalyst for professional growth and promotions within the company.

For interviewing success, it’s best if you know how to differentiate yourself.

3. In the next three months, what are the priorities for this position?

Obviously, you’ll discover on what you’ll need to focus to get a good start. As a new employee, it’s important to make a great initial impression and on what you’ll need to accomplish.

If the interviewer paints a comprehensive picture of expectations, you’ll be able to gauge whether the job would be the right fit for you. If you’re a high achiever, OK. On the other hand, if the employer has too many expectations, you’ll readily see a red flag.

4. What do you think are the biggest challenges for this job?

You’ll get a quick dose of reality. Hopefully, you’ll sense transparency. If the interviewer paints a utopian picture – the job is a cake walk – you’ll want to be very careful about accepting an offer. Few jobs are that easy in this economy.

Also, a lot depends on your professional goals. For example, if you’re trying to work your way up your career ladder, you might be disappointed if the answer indicates you’ll get stuck working awful hours or mundane duties.

If you’re a manager, you might be told you’ll be given all the tools to succeed or you might be expected to accomplish the impossible with poor resources.

5. If I were to be offered the position, how would I be working with my manager?

The supervisor’s style will be revealed to you. This means, you’ll learn how the company treats its employees.  You might not like to be given marching orders all day long. You might prefer a more collegial, collaborative style.

You’ll find out the company’s reasons for its preferred management style and its culture. Either way, you’ll see if you’d be happy.

6. What do employees appreciate the most about working for the company?

If the interviewer hesitates in answering the question or has difficulty, it’s likely you won’t enjoy working there. Conversely, if you’re told the company provides great benefits, revenue sharing or bonuses, you’re getting a green light.

7. If you’re interviewing for a manager’s position, ask: What are the qualities of successful managers?

If the person can’t give you success stories, you’ll learn whether it’s a dynamic company, Otherwise, you’ll get a positive answer and an idea of what the company appreciates in a manager.

8. Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?

Employers like to hire people who are confident and communicative. Such a question demonstrates your self confidence and your openness to be coached, which is an indication of your soft skills.

If the person mentions any concerns, listen intently. Be direct and answer the questions as adroitly as you can. If you’re successful in overcoming any concerns, congratulations. If not, it’s a great learning experience for your next job application.

Either way, make sure you are prepared with a great elevator pitch.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more career tips:

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.

7 Tips to Tweet Your Way to a Great New Job – Seriously — Surprise! If you play it smart you can take advantage of the 500 million Twitter account holders to get a new job or career. Really, it’s true.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

Increase Your Job Chances if You Have to Interview on the Phone — Face time, of course, is best if you’re interviewing for a job. However, headhunters and many companies schedule introductory telephone interviews. Pat yourself on the back. Even if it’s not an in-person meeting, a telephone interview is a good omen.

7 Steps to Become Great at Thinking on Your Feet — Have you ever been at a loss for words? For example, when asked a question, have you been tongue tied in a sales presentation, while speaking at an event, in negotiations, during an interview or a staff meeting? Getting tongue-tied is not a fun experience.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear. 


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.