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Interview Tips For When Someone Asks, "What Questions Do You Have For Us?"

When the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them, it's your opportunity to show them how much insight, moxie, and knowledge you have stored up. Here's your playbook.

"When a potential employer asks if you have any questions, they don’t want inquiries about parking validation," writes Kelly Gregorio for Brazen Careerist, "they want to see if you’re prepared, educated, and inquisitive."

Interviewers are probably—not unlike a date—sizing you up to see if you're compatible with them (and maybe even the company). Part of the weirdo company courting process is when you, the interviewee, get to ask questions. Keep these in your quiver:

If I started tomorrow, what's the first project you'd want me to tackle?

Beyond showing how you'd hit the ground running—and helping the interviewer to picture you doing so—this question will preview what the working state of the gig is like.

What are the must-have personality traits for this position?

This question will help you further fill in your forecast: Self-starting might mean you have little guidance; collaborative may mean you'll be mired in meetings. Also, Gregorio notes, ask this will help the interviewer crack his or her robo-scanning and see you as a whole person.

How do you expect the new hire to change or improve this position?

Ask this and you'll learn why the last guy lost the gig—plus get a fuller picture of what your potential employer counts as success. (Then, when you get the job, make those goals happen.)

Do you like it here?

"This question might take interviewers back a bit," Gregorio says, "but their answer will be telling." If they respond with an automatic yes! then you're probably entering into a positive culture (or talking to someone in denial), and if they look askance and search for meaning, chances are there's a storm a-brewing beneath the interview-y sheen.

Why would I not be a fit for this job?

Inviting a critique shows you can handle feedback, Gregorio says, and it lets the interviewers give voice to any worries they might have about you.

What else should you ask during an interview? Let us know in the comments.

Drake Baer covers leadership for Fast Company. You can follow him on Twitter.

[Image: Flickr user John Morgan]