Asking questions during a job or informational interview does not take an extraordinary amount of bravado…as long as they are germane. The three that follow are not typically asked by job candidates, but should be. Pose them and they will help vault you to “top candidate” status while also netting you information critical for determining your ongoing interest in the opportunity.

  1. “If I start in position X and receive above-average reviews for two straight years, what could I expect to be doing next inside the company?” This is a shrewder way to probe about career development/growth potential within the organization than demanding, “Do people ever get promoted in this joint?!” (Keep in mind that questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” will tell you nothing truly relevant anyway).
  2. “What do employees in this department / What do you say about working here?” Note: Putting forth such an inquiry to an interviewer may put them in kind of a rock and hard place spot. After all, he or she is representing the company and so would be naturally reluctant to hand out anything sincere. Then again, he or she might not have any clue over how his associates REALLY feel about their work situation. Why not pose the question to the interviewer him- or herself? The answer could be just as political, but since you’re within sight and sound of the individual, you would be in a better position to decipher the response, one way or the other, to a more exacting degree. After the interview, you can always try locating other employees on your own, and put your survey up face-to-face.
  3. “Given my background and accomplishments, what suggestions would you make to increase my chances of getting hired here?” (Best asked during an informational interview, or after having received a rejection notice from a target employer.) This request is a very direct way to prove your desire in gaining employment—even if you’ve already been rejected once. It also displays your confidence in your abilities while also welcoming opportunities for improvement.


Remember: When you ask valid interview questions, it not only provides you with information you can use to make better job and career decisions for yourself, but it proves to the person sitting in the other chair that you’re a savvy individual worth recruiting.

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