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How to ask great questions in a job interview

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Asking intelligent questions in a job interview shows that you took the time to understand the position you're interviewing for. It also demonstrates that you're interested and enthusiastic about the job.

Failing to ask good questions will leave the hiring manager with concerns about your preparation and overall interest in the position. You're a lot less likely to be offered the job if you don't ask intelligent questions.

The more effort you put into preparing these questions, the more likely you are to ace the job interview.

There are a number of information sources that can be used when writing your interview questions. Here are some of the best places to look:

The job description

Job descriptions are designed to help you gain an understanding of the position, but they can also be used to help you identify a few areas that you'd like to know more information about.

Maybe the job description doesn't do a great job of explaining the day to day responsibilities, or what a typical day would look like. This is a great question to ask during the interview.

Job descriptions don't always mention the organizational structure either. It's always a good idea to ask who the position reports to, and whether anybody would report directly to you.

Find areas that aren't fully explained in the job description, and refer to the description when asking these questions in the interview.

The company website

Now that you have some good questions about the specific position, it's time to head over to the company website to generate some general questions.

Read about the company to gather some understanding of the company size, product lines and culture. After this, come up with a few general company questions that you're genuinely curious about.

Even if a company website mentions the company culture, this is still a great topic to ask about in the interview. It's better to hear this information from a live person, and asking this question will make you seem interested and engaged.

Asking about the future of the company is also a strong approach. Corporate websites usually have a brief history of the company available, so you can mention that you reviewed the company history and are curious where the company envisions itself five years from now.

Search engines

Searching the internet using the company name mixed with various keywords such as 'news' or 'press release' will help you identify some of the latest developments and news within the company.

Asking about recent events in a job interview not only shows that you're interested, but also shows that you're aware of the company's latest developments.

Be sure to read the articles that you find thoroughly, so that you're not asking basic questions that could have been found online.

The job interview

During an interview, you can jot down additional notes or questions that come to mind as the interviewer is talking. This shows a high level of interest in the position.

If this is the second or third round in the interview process, you can also use previous interviews as a source of questions. This is a great idea especially if you previously interviewed with a different person.

Maybe you had a phone interview with an HR representative, and now you're meeting face to face with the hiring manager. If the HR representative mentioned an exciting project in the department you're applying for, you could explain that you're curious about the project and ask the hiring manager to share more specific details.

Hiring managers want to hire people that are excited about the position. All of the top level job candidates are asking questions in each interview. Taking the extra time to do extra research and write great interview questions can put you over the top and separate you from the crowd.

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