This is the Most Important Interview Question You Will Ever Ask

By: Perry Maisin

Your interview is ending and there is a pause...

Then, the interview looks at you and says:
"So, do you have nay questions for me?".

This is your chance to zero in on the interviewer and be
direct and focused on the job at hand. You need to lead with a strong question that will force the interviewer to give you a direct answer.

Answer: Yes. If I an hired for this position, what must I accomplish in the first 60 days to be successful?

This question is powerful because:

1. It drives the interviewer to respond with a specific concern.

2. It supports your direct concern about being a success.

3. It is a direct appeal to determine what the major goals and objectives are for the interviewer. If we assume the interviewer will be your boss, there is nothing more important.

4. This question forces the interviewer to commit and make a qualifying statement like:

a. - the most important quality I'm looking for is...
b. - there is no one thing you must focus on...
c. - If I were you, I would do this..

Benefit of Direct Questioning

Once you identify what the interviewer wants, you will be able to write a powerful Post Interview letter.

Why don't candidates ask this question?

People make a common mistake that usually ruins their interview. Most people belief the myth that you work for a company, not a person. In fact, it is the other way around.

So, when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions; they mean for THEM not the COMPANY.

The interviewer needs to hire someone to help him/her directly, not help the company. Their concern is a selfish concern. Your question must focus on their needs, not the company's needs.

Therefore, if you answer this question with a general comment about the company's competitiveness, or leadership role in the industry, or product lines, etc; you have missed the boat. You need to find out what this person cares about.

Note: If the interviewer were interested in your knowledge about the company they would ask you if you had any questions about the company. Usually, company info is not that important to a manager. For example, if you are interviewing for a marketing position, your analysis of corporate finamce issues is not so relevant.

Ask yourself: How will you help him/her succeed on a daily basis?

Once you ask the powerful question above, you may follow up with some of the questions below:

1. What did the previous person do in this job that was successful?
2. What is the most important attribute that you want the person in this position to have?
3. What should be the top priorities for the person in this position when they start?
4. Describe a typical day for me.
5. What is the most important skill set for this job?

These questions focus on the position the interviewer wants to fill. They communicate a message that says you are interested in this job and you want to succeed.

You must weed out weak, general questions that will not provide the type of response you need to walk away with. Most people leave the interview knowing no more about the job than when they came in. You can change that when you ask meaningful questions that elicit specific responses about the job.

Your objective is to learn about the real job,at this interview. The job description is worthless to you. How many jobs have you had where the job was exactly like the job description? None.

Employers are looking for problem solvers not order takers. Your mindset must be that of a consultant, not employee. Your objective in the interview is to perform a needs assessment on the interviewer. You are not there to simply answer "Yes" and "No". Consultants solve problems and provide solutions.

You can't provide a solution if you don't know what the problem is. Your objective at the interview is to uncover the problem.

At the end of the interview ask the following question

Q. What are the next steps in the interview process?

A. The answer you get will usually provide a clue about the interviewer's intentions about you. If the interviewer tells you to stay in touch or call back soon that's good news. If you get the standard response that "we are continuing to interview candidates", that may not be so good.

In any event, you must send out your post interview letter within 24-48 hours. Don't wait. Keep the conversation going and continue to market yourself to the interviewer.

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