“Do you have any questions for us?” It’s a common question in the interview process and one that trips up a surprising number of candidates.

There is a fine line between asking questions to which you really want to know the answer (like “how much is the pay?” and “is my boss-to-be a jerk?”) and asking questions which advance your candidacy and establish you as a professional.

I believe that most questions at this juncture should be job-specific. Hopefully, you have done enough research to know more than a surface level about the organization and can ask questions that show your insight. It has often been said that you should think of your interview as your first day on the job, and so it is appropriate to formulate your inquiries in a similar way. Ask about the “why” regarding certain things or seek clarification where you have conflicting information.

A key rule for the questions you ask: they should not be something you could know without asking. In other words, don’ ask anything that you could have found out on your own if you had invested the time.

To help you from being tongue-tied at this crucial interview moment, I have developed a list of 25 questions that the candidate can adapt to ask the employer. You should have a written list prepared; some specific to the interviewer and others where it is good to ask everyone and compare responses.

Don’t discount the importance of asking good questions. The insight that candidates showed through what they asked has made the difference for many hires.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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