Offbeat job interview tips: 3 things you must ask your interviewer

By on Apr 3rd

A couple of my day-jobs pre-Offbeat Empire involved working a lot with recruiters, the folks at companies who go out and find candidates to hire for jobs. Working with recruiters, I started learning the secret flip-side moment of the job interview: the part where the job candidate has the opportunity to ask a question.

It can fly right past you if you're not listening for it ("Do you have any questions for me about this position?") and most folks just let slide on by, in an attempt to be agreeable or seem knowledgable or something. But when you respond with, "Hmm…not that I can think of?," you're missing up on a BIG FAT opportunity to show the potential employer how smart, engaged, and awesome you really are.

Don't miss your fleeting moment to get your questions in! Not sure wtf to ask? Here are my three suggested questions that rock for job interviews:

These questions are best for more desk jobs, but could be tweaked to work awesome for service industry gigs, as well.

How will my success in this role be measured?

  • What this says about you: You have an interest in quantifiable results.
  • Why it matters: You know exactly how your success is going to be measured, so that you can know exactly how well you're doing, so that you make changes in your work if needed.

What are the opportunities for training and career advancement?

  • What this says about you: You're ambitious, and you want to improve yourself AND stick around at the company.
  • Why it matters: Hiring is a bitch, and unless you're interviewing for a temporary position, it's in most employers' best interests to hire folks who are committed to sticking around for a while.

How would the position support your work?
(If the interviewer is a potential boss)

  • What this says about you: That you're interested in them and their work.
  • Why it matters: We're all a little self-centered, and your potential boss is no exception. By asking this question, you're asking them to visualize all the ways that you could make their life better. They see your face, and imagine feeling so very supported and helped. Yessss, they think to themselves. Suddenly I'm seeing all the ways that I totally want this person around.

See, it really is true what people say: that a job interview should go both ways. Yes, you might be broke and desperate for a job, but you should still be engaged and interested in at least LOOKING like you want to make sure this job is a good fit. (Even if your real standards are "will hire me, and pay me money.")

As a final word of encouragement, I will say this: I provided this list to a friend of mine who was interviewing last month for a very exciting job at Facebook. He used these questions in his first interviews, and the recruiter was totally impressed. Ultimately, my friend had to go through FOUR interviews — but he got this job! Did these questions help my friend clear that first hurdle? WE'LL NEVER KNOW! (But I like to think so.)

Do you have any awesome zinger questions for job interviewees to ask their interviewers?