Usually, the emphasis in job interview prep involves getting your answers ready for the toughest interview questions–and there’s no doubt that it’s a critical component. But you must remember that interviewing is a two-way street. In one respect, the job interview is your chance to find out if the company is somewhere you can shine and advance in your career. You have to ask the questions that will tell you what you want to know.

But the most immediate benefit to asking questions in the interview is that just by asking those questions, you stand out as a candidate. You show yourself as a go-getter, and you change the interview from a one-sided interrogation into a conversation between professionals. It helps you establish rapport, and it uncovers for you what the interviewer is looking for–so that you can tailor your answers to what’s going to make the best impression on him.

To effectively find out what the interviewer wants to know, you have to ask the right questions. What are they?

1. “Tell me about what you’re looking for in this position?” Or, if you want to be more specific, “Tell me about the best member of your team?“ You want to know what has made the top performers successful. What skills or characteristics do they have? Then you can point out similar skills and qualities that you have that will allow you to be a top performer here, too.

2. “What’s the greatest challenge for this position?” Same idea. You want to know what the hiring manager’s greatest problems are so you can tell him how you’re going to solve them. You can talk about similar situations you’ve dealt with, and show how you already know what it takes to be successful.

3. “What do you like or dislike about working for this company?“ Asking this question gives you insight into the company and even more help with the responses you give.

4. “Are you confident that I’m a person who can meet the challenges and issues that your company faces?” What you want to know here is that you’ve told the interviewer what they need to know to make a confident decision to hire you. This question will help you uncover any objections while you’re right there to answer them. Maybe there’s some doubt the hiring manager has about your experience or abilities, you can find out what it is and speak to that. It’s sometimes hard to do, but it’s worth it. (It becomes easier and more effective if you practice with an interview coach first.)

5. “What’s the next step in this process?” I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to close the deal. You can’t leave the interview without asking for the job. Not only will you give yourself a little more peace of mind by knowing what their timeline looks like, you demonstrate that you’re proactive and confident as well as give them an idea of how you’ll deal with customers.

Asking the right questions leads you to give the most impressive answers and creates a very successful environment for you to have a killer interview.

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee has over 15 years of experience in sales, sales management, sales recruiting, and career coaching. Her website, Career Confidential ( is packed with job-landing tips and advice as well as the practical, powerful, innovative tools every job seeker needs to be successful.
She knows how hard it can be to land your dream job, and she can help you with what you need to succeed. Find out more about what she can do for you—job-search strategies, social media help, role-playing interview questions, resumes that get the interview, 30/60/90-day plans that get the job, and much more at Learn to be the candidate that everyone wants to hire.