Be the BEST Candidate: The #1 BEST Question to ask an Interviewer

Last week one of my clients blew me away with a question they asked to an interviewer. As a career coach I spend many hours coaching clients through the interview process. I often hear my clients struggle with the section of the interview where the interviewer says “Do you have any questions for us?”

So many candidates miss the opportunity that is presented during this very important section of the interview. So before I get to the BEST question you can ask an interviewer, here are some of the basics.

The Basics

Asking questions is an opportunity for you to continue to sell yourself.  When you ask good questions, the right questions, interviewers begin to understand your values and what is important to you. You can make yourself stand out or sabotage the interview depending on what you ask.  Of course you never ask about breaks, vacation, salary, time off (even if it’s coming up), or benefits. Save these questions for the time that you receive the job offer. Never before that time! If you ask these questions before you are offered the position, it may prematurely disqualify you from being a candidate for the job.  Remember, you must think strategically and only give them the information that is appropriate to the interview. If you going on vacation in three weeks, that is none of their business until such a time as you are offered the position, then you can disclose the information. If you are the right candidate, you are the right candidate, and if they are prepared to offer you the position then their is an opportunity to negotiate the terms of your employment at the time of the offer.

Instead, you will want to ask powerful questions that not only show interest for the position but show you have a level of understanding about the reason they require someone for the position at all. I encourage you to ask questions that help you identify the problems they currently face, solutions that they see for this problem, and questions that show proof that you are the best candidate. (Notice that I said “question” to show this, you aren’t making statements.)  Some examples of this could be:

Identify the Problem

What is the biggest problem / struggle / opportunity you see for this position or department?

Why is this position important, in other words, what problem does it solve for the organization?

Identify the Solution

What is the most important thing the successful candidate needs to stay focussed on in this role at this time?

What is one key thing this position requires of an individual to be successful?

Show Proof that You Are the BEST Candidate

Can you give me an example of an employee that has done those things? (Pulling their answers from the first two questions you ask.)

I’d like to share a brief example of where I was able to accomplish something similar, would we have time for this?

Want More Amazing Questions To Ask?

Before I tell you what the BEST question to ask when you are being interviewed. Please check out out questions you can ask during an informational interview, when you are learning about a potential career you want to enter. Check out my previous blog post, Conducting the Most Effective Informational Interviews.

What is the #1 BEST Question to Ask an Interviewer

This one came from a client of mine…”What is it you saw in my resume that stood out to you and motivated you to interview me?”

Why is this the #1 BEST Question to Ask an Interviewer?

This question now gives the interviewer an opportunity to tell you why they felt you would be a good fit for the position. This gets them talking about you, your resume, your skills, your abilities that they saw in the interview and your resume.  In essence it begins to anchor in the interviewers own mind, and reminds them, why they brought you in for the interview. You are helping them to convince themselves why you are the best fit for the position.

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