Asking questions in an interview setting is so important it can’t be overstated.  That said, asking the RIGHT questions is even more important- at a bare minimum, we suggest making these six questions an integral part of your interview experience.

#1. ASK ABOUT THE PERSON INTERVIEWING YOU – i.e. “I noticed from your LinkedIn profile you have been with ABC Company for 10 years, that’s very impressive.  I’d love to hear about what brought you to the Company and what you most enjoy about it”.  Make a connection to the person you are speaking with, let them tell their story- it will give you insight into them, their style and the company through their unique perspective.

#2. ASK ABOUT THE ROLE – i.e. “I read the job description in detail but I wondered if you wouldn’t mind taking a moment to describe the role from YOUR perspective as well the type of person you believe would be successful?” – Regardless of what the written job description says, its’ likely been written by someone other then the person you are speaking with so best to get their insight and feedback so you can speak to what they say the role entails versus what YOU think it involves.

#3. ASK WHY THE ROLE IS OPEN – i.e. “I understand this role has been open for only a few (fill in the blanks… days/weeks/months), can you please tell me why the role is now open?”  The million-dollar question is WHY- why is the role open.  Was someone let go, is this a growth initiative, are they planning on letting someone go who hold this position now?  Knowing the WHY will help you formulate follow up questions to better understand the role, expectations and culture of the company and management style.

#4. ASK ABOUT EXPECTATIONS – i.e. “This certainly sounds like a challenging and exciting role. I wonder if you can share some of the performance expectations surrounding the position?” – So, for example if it’s a sales role you are interviewing for you may want to ask something like “I’m curious what type of sales production would you expect in the first 12 months out of this role?” or you can ask a more open-ended questions such as “I’m curious to better understand some of yours and the company’s expectations surrounding this role from a day to day (fill in the blank… month to month/ quarter to quarter) perspective”

#5. ASK ABOUT THE COMPANY – i.e. “I’m curious, from your experience, what makes ABC company different or unique from its main competitors in the industry such as (fill n the blank from your research- just name one or two competitors)?”  This is a basic open-ended question that will let the hiring manager “sell” their brand and hopefully provide you with some added insight into its unique products/services/offerings/pricing or employee perks that helps set it apart from others

#6. ASK A FINAL CLOSING QUESTION – As the interview is coming to a close, the hiring manager will usually wrap it up by saying something along the lines of “do you have any questions for me?”  This is where your closing question should come in i.e. “Yes, as a matter of fact I do.  But first I want to thank you for taking the time to meet and talk today, it’s been very informative, sounds like a terrific opportunity. That said, before we end our discussion, I am curious to get your thoughts on me as a candidate for the role”- This is an opportunity for you to ask an open-ended question to glean any concerns or positive feedback.  It is designed to shine a light on the interviewer’s impression of you.  This is a question that will help you better understand where you stand in the process and get a sense of how you did in the interview.

Most important, take the time to prepare, have FUN and enjoy the process!