A good way to demonstrate your interest in a job is to ask thought provoking questions during a job interview. Anyone can go in to a job interview, sit back, and just answer questions about themselves. However, it takes effort to be engaged and curious about a company. Taking the extra few minutes to come up some questions beforehand may pay off in the long run.
Here are a few primers to develop questions:
– Ask someone where they would like the company to be in five years. This could resonate more with small-business owners and start-up founders. They probably have a huge personal stake in their company and would love to talk about it.
– Look up some projects that the company worked on, if it’s applicable. Ask about how they tackled a certain story or handled an account. People like to talk about how they did things. Don’t patronize by saying blanket statements like, “Your company is the leader in the industry.” Mentions specific examples of where the company excelled and ask about them.
– Don’t ask about salary, benefits or vacation. There is an appropriate time to ask about those issues, but the initial interview is not that time.
-“If the local paper were going to run a four-page article about your company’s culture, what would be impossible not to include?” (I stole this one from The Ladders) I like this because it’s creative and it gives them a chance to highlight some unconventional aspects of the company.
– Ask about how people learn at the company. I learn best with a mentor or someone to help guide me. This could help you decide about the position later.
The key to asking good questions is to be specific and do your homework. Do not go into an interview empty handed.