job-interviewAs a career mentor, one of the most frequent inquiries I get asked is:

“What are the best questions to ask during a job interview?”

So, broken down by the most common priorities for job seekers (including just getting the job!), here are the questions that impress me the most when I’m hiring:

Priority: Teamwork and Testing Passion

What qualities and traits do your very best contributors share?

How could I immediately help the current team succeed?

When you first started working here, why did you choose this company?

Now that you’ve been here several years, how do you view the company differently… have your expectations been met?

As you look ahead to the next five years, what excites you most about the company?

Priority: Culture Fit

If you had to describe what it’s like to work here in 3 words, which would you choose?

From the top down, how would you describe the leadership style of the company?

What changes or improvements do you expect from the person who fills this position?

What challenges are most commonly associated with working here… and how can I best rise above those challenges?

Who are the super heroes working here now, and what do they do to earn that ‘S’ on their chest?

Priority: Longevity

Please walk me through the history of those who have filled this position… how long were they here, what did they do well, and what did they not do well?

Over the next five years, how will the work required of me contribute to the company’s mission?

Which competitor causes this company the most heartburn? How do we stack up against them?

What do you consider the biggest threat to this industry? Which company/competitor do you see tackling that threat best?

How will my success be evaluated and communicated? How is mutually-beneficial feedback informally communicated?

Closing Well

If I started tomorrow, what are my Top 3 priorities?

What other questions can I answer for you today?

What are your timelines for deciding which candidate will be offered this position?

If I haven’t heard back from you by then, what is the best way to communicate with you without becoming a pest?

After our conversation today, what reservations do you have about my ability to do this job – and what might stop me from fitting in right away with the existing team?

As you decide which of these questions to ask, take into consideration not only your goals… but also what might most impress the recruiter. How you can best show you’re a great fit for the existing culture? How you can solve the problem the recruiter is trying to fix by filling this position.

Once you accomplish that, you better be prepared to answer a very important question from the interviewer:

“When can you start?

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