Best Interview Question to Ask (even when you’re not interviewing)

Do you have a favorite question to ask the interviewer?

Let me set the scene. You’ve spent an intense 30-60 minutes talking about your experience and why you are a great candidate for the job. As the interview comes to a close, the interviewer asks you, “Do you have any (more) questions?”

What do you say? I’ve seen many lists of powerful questions to ask, but I have one clear favorite. I can’t recall where I first learned this magic question, but I have used it myself for many years. It’s so powerful I recommend it to all my clients (and anyone else who asks).

Are you ready to know the magic words to say? Here you go:

“What results do you need to see in 3- (6- or 9- ) months from the person you hire in order for you to consider this person a success in this position?”

Here are just a few reasons I absolutely love this question.

1. It works for you at any level, from staff-level to C-level (CEO, CIO, COO, CTO, and more). You can adapt this question no matter what level you apply for.

2. It is adaptable to almost any industry. I have used it extensively in IT, software development, and technology based jobs. I have also seen it work well for sales, financial services, customer service, social work, and teaching jobs.

3. This question helps create the impression that you are someone who knows how to be successful. It focuses on what it takes to succeed in this job. It shows that you want to know what matters most to the hiring company.

4. This question gets you concrete information you can use to understand what the job is really about, not just what they say in the job description. I recommend asking this question to everyone who interviews you and then compare the answers. You want to know what they want from you before you accept an offer. This question can give you that information. It can also tell you about how the organization works together and communicates with each other. The answers to this question can also give you clues about the internal politics before you become an employee.

5. Best of all, you can even use it in your current job to help improve your career. This is a great question to ask at performance review time, to get your boss to be clear with you about what she or he expects from you over the next year. Document the answer to this question, then track and report your progress as the year unfolds.

I challenge you to use this question in your next job interview or in your next 1-on-1 meeting with your boss. And then shoot me an email and let me know what you discover.

If you have a favorite question, I’d love to hear it. Just post it below or email me.

 

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Client Stories

 I was looking to make large changes in my life, both job and city.  I was a happy midwestern resident for nearly 30 years but wanted to see what life on a coast was like and get a dream job.  This was a tall order and going into it I thought I would have to make large compromises on parts of my dreams to get any of it.  

I went to Lori to help me achieve these dreams.  It was the best decision I made.

She focused on two things right out of the gate:
  1. clarify my goals, both personal and professional
  2. get me to stop selling myself short

These twin achievements allowed me to approach my hunt with confidence, patience and focus.  My original dream job was to try and combine my technical joys with a personal one.  I enjoy large scale data processing with cutting edge tools, music and baseball.  Through the tools Lori taught me and helped me unearth in myself I got that gig that would have fallen into day dream territory before our work together.  

And yeah, there's platinum records on the walls of my lobby and I have tons of data to process.

Pat Christopher, Intelligence Engineer, Seattle, WA