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 hired Lori because I was feeling stuck in my job and needed to find a career that was more rewarding, more challenging, and more suited to me.  In the arts, it's difficult to find a job you enjoy that also pays enough to live on, but Lori helped me do just that! 

As we worked together, Lori always helped give me that extra nudge when I was having trouble taking the next step toward success and acknowledged and applauded me when I accomplished something that I'd been struggling with. 

Thanks to Lori, I got out of my 8-year rut at the same job and discovered a new career I love that brings me all of the things I want in a job--creativity, variety, challenge, learning, flexibility, teamwork, and cake.  With no professional experience but a desire to learn, Lori helped me find ways to become a cake decorator--first on my own and then, eventually, at a reputable cake shop.  Now, something I used to do just for fun has become something I make my living doing, and each workday flies by!

Emily Sweeney, Chicago, IL