You’re nervous, but be prepared — they are going to ask you a lot of questions. Your answers are going to play a major part in their impression of you. 

Most interviewees don’t realize the questions they ask also play a major part in honing that impression. So you need to plan, make time, and ask them.

This is important — it’s not always their answers — it’s the impression you make asking the questions. It shows you are confident and in-control. That’s who they are looking for.

Let’s cut to the chase – here they are:

1. Can you explain the culture here at (the company) and provide examples how (the company) upholds it?

It’s not only the information provided, watch how they answer it. You’re asking them to sell you their company and if they fidget of prevaricate – watch out. Watch their eyes and see if they stumble — they are not going to be prepared for this question.

2. Is this a new position or replacement? Why? Is it changing?

This will tell you if the company is growing or if there were problems in the department. If it’s a replacement — was it them or the previous person who had the position? You need to understand the dynamics of the situation you will be stepping into.

3. Where do you see (the company) in 1, 3, 5 years & how can I help (the company) get there?

You’ll have some ideas where the company should be moving, but it’s important to see where THEY want it to go. If they stumble here — watch out.

4. Walk me through a typical day – who will I work/interact with – go/travel?

This sounds pedestrian — but it is important. It lifts the veil on how your boss expects you to work. And it gives you a window how the culture is — all meetings? Travel? Presentations? Phone calls? Or real work?

I’ve kept the last three as your BEST questions to ask — don’t forget these:

5. What are the most important things I need to deliver in the next 30, 60, and 90 days?

Not a lot of people ask this question. It shows you are interested and enthusiastic — two areas you want to display to the interviewer. It also gives you a picture if they are reasonable or high about their expectations.

6. What keeps you here at (the company)?

No one ever asks this question and it will close the deal for you. It’s a GREAT question to ask. First, interviewers are unprepared for this question so they usually answer honestly. Second, you really want to hear the answer. Finally, the interviewer is impressed with this question. Many of my clients have told me this question clinched the job for them. Use it.

7. When will you be making your final decision?

A lot of interviewees forget to ask this question. They thank the person and walk out. This question ensures you remain in control of the timing — you know when they are going to make a decision. If they say “I don’t know” — that’s a HUGE problem. They might drag this on for weeks/months. It also allows you to schedule follow up calls with the interviewer: “So if I don’t here from you Friday, can I touch base with you Monday or Tuesday to get an update?”