You know you have to ask questions, and good ones, during job interviews.
That’s both because you want to learn more about the job and the person interviewing you (yes, you do), and because your interviewer wants you to ask questions that show your enthusiasm for the job.
Most candidates ask generic questions that neither impress interviewers nor uncover new information. Now and then, someone asks a “show-off ” question. Those are similar to the brainteasers and so-called trick questions that are part of some companies’ hiring process.
I’m not big on those kinds of games when it comes to interviewing. I come down on the side of being yourself, because that is the only way you will actually be happy with the job you wind up getting.
But keeping in mind the two goals of asking good questions, here is a question someone mentioned to me that I hadn’t heard before. I am not sure of its origin, but it is a great one.
What is the one question you have wanted to ask, but haven’t?
Boom. That question shows tons of confidence. And it is smart, too, as it allows the candidate to address whatever concerns interviewers might have in the back of their minds that they are uncomfortable bringing up. Of course, some interviewers might punt and ask a routine question anyway. But a good hiring manager or potential boss will use your question as an opening to discuss any concerns about hiring you.
And you will have the chance to address any issues head-on.
So go ahead and tackle the elephant in the room, but with this caveat: You must be prepared to respond, calmly and effectively, to whatever the manager asks you. If you might become angry or defensive about something in your past or about your abilities, drive or any other aspect of your career, the move might backfire.