When we interview, it's common to be overly focused on how we should answer the hiring manager's questions. We want to get the job offer, so we do our best to respond in hopes of impressing them with our personality, aptitude and experience. But, you also should ask questions in the interview. In fact, there are eight questions I encourage everyone to ask in a job interview. And, one in particular can save you from making a terrible career mistake...
You need to see what they really value in an employee.
You aren't the only one trying to impress. Hiring managers want to sound intelligent, accomplished, and try to convince you they're awesome to work for. However, we know nobody's perfect, especially managers. Many people leave perfectly good jobs because they don't see eye-to-eye with their boss. Thus, you need a way to break past the surface and determine if your potential future employer is in sync with your values, beliefs, and approaches to work.
Tell me about...
The ideal question to help you figure this out is,
"Tell me about the most successful recent hire you've made. What did this person do to be so effective in their new role?"
By asking this question, you're getting the hiring manager to articulate what they perceived as the value this employee brought to the role. You'll hear first-hand he or she views as an employee doing a good job. The key is to then ask yourself, "Did the person the hiring manager just described sound like me?" If the skills, values and beliefs are similar, then you know you'll be able to perform equally well, if not better. On the flip side, if the person described sounded nothing like you, well then, you may not want this job after all (i.e., the boss sounds like he likes to overwork his employees).
Interviews are a two-way dialog.
While there are several things all hiring managers want to know about you in an interview. The same should be said for you about them! The easy solution is to be prepared with a list of questions to ask so you can make sure you are choosing the right employer.