"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:
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.
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.
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.)
"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.
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.
[Image: Flickr user John Morgan]