Here are three questions that you might be a bit nervous about asking, but that can help you get the job.
The first one is the question before the interview gets rolling.
1: “Before we get started, I wonder if I could ask you a quick question? What’s your top priority in this role? What’s the #1 thing you want to see achieved?”
You may be nervous about asking the first question rather than just waiting, but if you ask it in the right tone it’s unlikely to offend. And once you know what matters most to your interviewer you can focus on communicating, throughout the interview, that you can and will achieve that top goal.
The second is a question about a question:
2: “Before I answer that, may I ask you for a little more information?”
During the interview you may be asked a question you aren’t sure how to answer because you aren’t familiar with the context, or aren’t clear what the interviewer is looking for. Asking for clarification can enable you to give a much better response. Be prepared for the slight possibility of hearing “No, I’d like you to answer it just as I asked it.” But in most cases the interviewer will be happy to clarify.
Another very powerful question is about yourself as a candidate.
3: “Now that we’ve talked a while, what do you see as my greatest strengths for this position? And on the other hand, do you have any concerns?”
The answer may provide valuable insights. What positives you can build upon in the second interview or followup communication? What weak impression might you correct?
Knowledge is power. Having good questions to ask in a job interview can give you the knowledge to make the best possible case for yourself.
This article was originally published in 2013 and has been updated.