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Ironically, the most important question in an interview is the one where they ask for YOUR questions!

Joel Peterson, Chairman of JetBlue Airways has some interesting tips on the job interview which he shared in a recent post. He explained that although it is understandably vital for a candidate to be well prepared, it can be difficult sometimes for potential employees to demonstrate just how well they are prepared. A great opportunity to show this is when they are asked by the employer – “What questions do you have?”

What Not to Ask

In Joel’s opinion this is an interviewer’s chance to find out how much research you’ve done, how self-absorbed you are, and where your priorities lie. He identifies the following as questions NOT to ask!

1. “What will my salary be?” — followed by the even worse, “And how often do you give raises?
2. “What are your policies regarding vacation, time off, and breaks?”
3. “Can you tell me about your healthcare plan? Will my spouse be covered?”

The first questions reflect a “what’s in it for me?” attitude. The second two are the types of questions more appropriate for human resources than for your valuable time with a decision-maker. There’s plenty of time to learn about these issues if an offer is made. Also you could save these questions for your recruitment agency, like Nova, to find out on your behalf.

What You Should Ask

So instead of asking questions about you, Joel believes you should try asking a few questions about the company, such as:

1. “How can new employees become familiar with, and begin to contribute to, the culture you’ve developed here?
2. “What’s the most important way that your company differentiates itself from competitors?” (Focus the question on the particular industry you’re in, showing that you’re knowledgeable about the company and its sector.)
3. “What are a few of the most important challenges that the industry is facing, and how is your company going to approach them?”
4. “What might I do to add the greatest value to the business?” — followed by, “What kinds of things can I do to prepare myself for the job?”

Joel states that these questions reveal three important things: that you know the company has a unique culture; that you understand that a successful business is ultimately about offering something unique to the market, and that you’re already imagining yourself as part of a winning team. Take these comments on board the next time you are in an interview situation and you will surely make an excellent impression on the interviewer!

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