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10 Powerful Questions to Ask an Interviewer

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

A former 9-figure corporate CEO gives you 10 killer questions to help you seal the deal in your next interview.

Just like dressing professionally, showing up on time, and wielding a firm handshake, asking the right questions can make or break the outcome of a long-awaited interview for a super-coveted position.

woman in professional clothing is being interviewed by two other business professionals for a new job.

Asking no questions at all? Well, you just wasted your and the interviewer’s time. Cue your auto-generated email that says, “We’ve decided to pursue other candidates whose qualifications are more closely aligned with..” You get the idea. In fact, you might have even memorized these dreaded emails by now.

Just like any successful business encounter, strategy plays an important role in the interview process. If you want to stand out from the competition, the last person you want to sound like is an overtired toddler asking, “Are we there yet?” one hour into an eight-hour road trip (and I gotta break it to ya: asking questions like, “When will you make a decision?” is scarily akin to that whiny kid in the backseat wiping Cheeto dust all over your windows).

But being equipped with strategic, thoughtful questions can mean a recession isn’t the only thing looming: in fact, by asking the right questions at the right time during the interview, you position yourself to be on the receiving end of that offer letter (instead of the other whiny-toddler candidates).

A group of business women laughing and enjoying themselves during a work meeting.
Source: Unsplash

So if you’re tired of the “We’re sorry, but...” emails from prospective employers, consider trying something different next time you interview. Here are the 10 most powerful questions to ask an interviewer to ensure you seal the deal in your next

dream job.

The 10 Slam-Dunk Questions to Ask an Interviewer to Land You the Career You Want

Culture Questions to Ask an Interviewer

  1. Can you tell me about how you came into your current role?

  2. I'm curious: Roughly what percentage of the [senior team or next level up from where you’re interviewing] were promoted from within the company via being hired externally?

  3. What would you say are the top three words that describe your company's culture?

  4. What do you think people would say they most like about XYZ's culture? What one thing do you think people think most needs improvement?

  5. On a scale of 1-10, how authentic would you say XYZ's company culture is?

Business Questions to Ask an Interviewer

  1. If you could accomplish one thing in the next six months that would rock your (and your boss') world, what would it be?

  2. What's an initiative you've been trying to tackle for a long time, but haven't been able to complete it?

  3. Fill in this blank: If we could overcome ______ in our company, everything would change for the better.

  4. If you could wave a magic wand and offer ______ to your customers, what would it be?

  5. What is XYZ Company's hidden gem?

How Asking the Interviewer the Right Questions Can Propel Your Career

You may think, “How can asking the right questions in an interview really make a difference? Aren’t my answers to their questions what matters?”

Of course your answers matter. But your questions are just as important, if not more important, than theirs. And here’s a little secret: The answer to your questions isn’t the only thing you’re looking for.

When considering what questions to ask an interviewer, remember your goal is to connect. If you ask them thoughtful questions, this will fast-pass your connection and make them think, “Wow, they really get me to think and care about what’s important to me.”

By asking thoughtful, creative questions, the result is twofold: You connect authentically AND you leave a lasting impression on the interviewer (or panel) who may fall back in their chair if they have to read one more resume or interview one more candidate.

⚠️ Word of Caution: do NOT ask all of these questions in the interview. Instead, weave in a few of these when it feels natural. You don’t want this to turn into a police interrogation. And of course, use these as guides and inspiration to also ask your own thoughtful questions.

So if getting to the next stage in the interview process has been more challenging than finding the will to hop on the Peloton since the 2020 lockdown, I encourage you to actually plan for and think about these interview questions—more than you think about the answer to “tell me about a time you resolved a complex problem..”

The outcome? You connect authentically. And guess what? The person who connects authentically is the person who gets the offer letter. In fact, a research study on the impact of authenticity in the workplace found that 30% of people who were authentic at work said that their authenticity directly led to them getting a new job or promotion!

Ace the Interview and Catapult Your Career

Are you feeling a little rusty or stale in the hot seat during interviews? Or are you in need of a confidence boost to finally step out of your own way and out of your comfort zone to soar in your career? b Brilliant is a transformative, self-paced career coaching program chock full of actionable tips and tricks I learned along my journey to becoming CEO of a nine-figure company at just 42 years old. If you’re struggling to get noticed and get promoted, maybe it’s time to take a different approach.

Or if you are looking for more tips on interviewing, listen in to the b Cause Work Doesn’t Have to Suck podcast, where we share other interviewing tips and other authentic career and leadership advice (and possibly loads of snarky humor…and a touch of barnyard language.)

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