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August 19, 2014 / Erin Slayton

From the Intern: 8 Questions to Ask in an Interview

shutterstock_151603850 (1)A job interview is stressful and nerve-racking for many people. It’s important to prepare and be ready for anything the interviewer throws your way. One of the ways to stand out among the competition is to ask intelligent, thoughtful questions. You will be a stronger candidate and you will appear more in demand. If all is equal between you and other candidates, the right questions can give you an edge over the competition.

The best questions are specific to the role and/or company. Make sure yours are considerate and genuine to avoid sounding too automated. Also be sure to research the company and the position before the interview so you are able to ask those specific and detailed questions.

That being said, here are eight questions to help you prepare for your next job interview:

1. Can you describe a typical workday or week in this role? Completely understanding the job description is essential when searching for a job. This question allows you to gain more insight to what you would be doing on a daily basis and to see if it sounds like something you could vision yourself doing.

Follow up question: Can you give me an example of projects I would be working on in this role?

2. What would make someone successful in this role? This question allows the interviewer to see your drive and determination. Once you know the answer, you will know what you would need to do in order to fulfill the role.

Follow up question: What specific skills and qualities are you looking for in a candidate?

3. What is the career path for this role? If you want to work your way up the ladder, you need to know if there is a future beyond the role. This question will let the interviewer know that you are interested in a long-term position and that you strive to excel in the industry.

Follow up question: What does the annual review process look like at this company?

4. What impact would I have on the company in this role? This question is important because it allows you to understand how much value the role is given. You can better understand how the position fits in with the rest of the company and what it takes to succeed.

Follow up question: How can I better the company in this position?

5. How long have you been at the company and what makes you stay? Asking this question makes the interview a little more personal and conversational. It shows that you are interested in what the interviewer has to say and that you value their opinion.

Follow up question: How did you get involved with the company?

6. What are some long-term and short-term goals for the company? Knowing the company goals is important because it allows you to know what you would be working toward. If you do not know the company goals, you would not be able to establish your own goals within the position.

Follow up question: Where do you see the company in one year? Five years?

7. How would you describe the company culture? Company culture is a huge part of happiness in a career. This question helps to grasp if you are a good fit for the company and if you would enjoy working there. Many people quit their jobs because they are disconnected with the culture and values of the organization. Make sure you understand what the company stands for and reflect upon if you could see yourself there.

Follow up question: What kind of things does the company do to engage employees?

8. What sets this company apart from other companies in the industry? You are basically asking the question that they have probably already asked you (Why do you want to work for us?). This gives the interviewer a chance to talk about what makes the company great and why you should want to work there.

Follow up question: Is there anything that sets me apart from other candidates for this position?

Take these questions and make them your own. Tailor them to the company you are interviewing for and stand out among the competition. Remember to be confident in yourself and you will do great. Good luck!