Work & Purpose

The 4 Questions You Should Ask in a Job Interview

They'll help you stand out from the pack of job applicants

(The follow is excerpted from the new book, Wait, How Do I Write This Email?, a compilation of 100+ writing and speaking guides for networking, the job search and LinkedIn by communications expert Danny Rubin.)

So, do you have any questions for me?”

At the end of most job interviews, the employer drops that classic line. How you respond can make a huge difference in the hiring decision.

Here are the four types of interview questions I think every job candidate should ask an employer. Each question demonstrates critical thinking and declares: I’m in it to win it.

If you come prepared with a question about the boss’s career, he or she will perk up, brag and find you impressive.

For illustrative purposes, the questions below might apply if you were interviewing for a marketing/communications job at a grocery chain. But you can tweak them accordingly depending on the job you’re hoping to get.

Wait How Do I Write This Email Book Embed1. The Background Check

People love to talk about themselves. Period. If you come prepared with a question about the boss’s career (thanks to LinkedIn or a website bio), he or she will perk up, brag and find you impressive — even though you only asked a question and listened.

Sample interview question: “I noticed you started your career in marketing for Ringling Brothers circus. What was that experience like?”

2. The Office Insight

Every company has a website. So read it before the interview. Check out past and current projects and staff bios and gain a general sense of the office culture. Then, drop a question to prove you did your homework.

Sample interview question: “I read several of your recent press releases and saw you’re making a push to carry more gluten-free products. How big is the demand right now for gluten-free foods?”

3. The “Wow” Factor

Now, turn your focus to the employer’s industry. Read news about it online (set up a Google Alert so the stories come to you) and put the company in context with the latest headlines you’ve found. That’s next-level stuff, which will prompt a “wow” from the boss.

Sample interview question: “I see Acme Corporation bought Little Corporation. The deal seems like a major shakeup in the grocery industry. What does the Acme Corporation takeover say to you?”

4. The Inception

With the “wow” question, you took the interview from an uncomfortable boss/applicant arrangement to a conversation among peers. Now, plant a seed in the manager’s brain with a cool marketing idea. Make him or her feel that this employer needs you on the team right now.

Sample interview question: “I like the way your store offers online deals based on my previous purchases. Wouldn’t it be cool to do a targeted campaign to reach people where they spend time online?”

Then, ideally, the boss will say: “You know, that’s a really good idea.

In short, for your next job interview, come with a set of questions no one else will have. Be smarter. Be one notch better. Be different.

By Danny Rubin
Danny Rubin is a communications expert and author of the new book, Wait, How Do I Write This Email?, a collection of 100+ templates for networking, the job search and LinkedIn. For more of Danny's insights and sample chapters from the book, visit his blog, News To Live By, which highlights the career advice in the latest headlines.@DannyHRubin

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