Unforgettable, That's What You Are

by Colleen Kay Watson

What I have learned over the years is that people who do not ask questions in the interview fall into one of two categories: those who don't care enough to think of any questions or those who are too dumb to think of any questions. I want you to become unforgettable through outstanding questions. These are brilliant questions that can be used in every interview that you go to. These questions are tried and true. They work!

Outstanding Interview Questions:

1. What are some of the major short and long-range company objectives?

This question shows that you are interested in the objectives that are important to the hiring authority. Their answer will help you it two ways. First, you can see weather or not you yourself, or as part of a team, can help this company to reach their objectives. And secondly, it will help you to formulate your future comments to fit their goals and objectives.

2. What characteristics of this company are attractive or unique?
I like this question because, the answer you receive will give you reasons for or against working for this particular company. If they have a great deal of corporate pride and bragging rights, then you should want to work for this company. If not, then move on to the next potential employer.

3. What outside influences could affect this company's growth?

No company is an island. For example, if congress eliminates tariffs on this company type of product they could become an international powerhouse, or die because of foreign competition. How vulnerable is this firm? What market changes would make them skyrocket? And best of all, you will sound so intelligent to be asking this question.

4. Are there areas where the company excels or has limitations?

The employers answer to this question, will give you the type of information you need to focus you comments. The areas where your skills and abilities will directly assist or augment the company's growth are the ones you will want to bring up in this interview and the following interviews.

5. From your perspective, what are the common denominators in successful employees?

This is a different way to ask what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. If you have spent the time listing your personal skills and explaining how you have demonstrated those abilities, then you should be able to match your abilities with most of this list of common denominators.

6. Can you share with me areas of the company that need polishing or development?

Every employer is looking for ways to save money or time. With the information you receive in this answer, you should be able to share you special skills that will save them time or money.

7. What would you add or subtract from the incumbent's performance?

If you were following in the footsteps of Mother Theresa, wouldn't it be nice to know before starting employment at this firm? Past saints and sinners will be used as a benchmark for your performance expectations. This information will become more valuable as you strive to make the job your own.

8. What concerns do you have about my abilities or me?

This is the secret weapon question. This question will help you find out if there is something that they are concerned about in you background or your abilities. You can cover it immediately before they have time to decide that you are not qualified for this job, because of misinformation or misunderstanding.

9. Where do you think I could contribute the most effectively?

Actually, this is an assumptive way to convince the employer to hire you. A friend of mine owns his own marketing company. He had someone ask him that question during an interview. He did not know how to respond to that question so he hired the person.

10. "May I have the job?"

It is harder for some people to ask for what they want than it is for others. If you want something enough, you need to ask for what you want. I know that saying, "May I have this job?" may not be the way you feel comfortable expressing your interest, so you can say something like, "I am very interested in this position and am anxious to move forward." Think of asking for the job like dropping hints toward a love interest, letting them know that your answer would be "YES". Most humans respond favorably to encouragement and most of the employers I have meet fall into that category.

And finally...

When you do get to that fourth interview with the senior vice-president, continue to ask questions. Don't respond to this person's inquiries, with "Nope, all of my questions have been answered already." You still need to let this person know that you are informed and that you want their specific perspective, as well as the perspectives of the other people with whom you have already spoken to. It is okay to ask the same questions with each person. I want you to do this even if you don't have any questions. They all need to know that you can think. You need to ask the questions. You might be surprised at the answers you get!

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About the Author

Colleen Kay Watson is CEO and Co-Founder of Career Professionals®, which helps job seekers find entry-level opportunities in Management, Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Finance, and Administrative positions. For more information about Career Professionals®, please go to http://www.gocpi.com or call 952-835-9922.

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