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What’s in Your Toolbox? Three Traits of Successful Interview Questions

“Do you have any questions for us?” By the time your interviewer asks that question, there’s a good chance you’re mentally tired from the interview. Yet, that question is your opportunity to shine. Preparation for any interview should include 4–6 questions to close with. There are no magic, one-size-fits-all questions that will cinch the job, but there are best practices to follow. Quality questions will leave an impression of a quality candidate. Make sure your questions stand out with this rubric:

1. Show you did your homework. An interview is your opportunity to learn more about a specific position that’s part of a distinct team in a unique organization. Your interview questions should include questions particular to that institution’s initiatives and the functioning of the position. Your questions should reflect that you learned about the organization. That said, they should be genuine inquiries, not showing off in the guise of a question.

2. Show you were listening. In addition to prepared questions, one of your interview questions should should relate to items that have come up during your discussion. Through effective note taking during an interview, you can flag items you want to know more about for follow-up questions.

3. Show an interest in your interviewer’s perspective. One of the most important things about long-term fit with an organization is institutional culture. It is also one of the hardest things to gauge from a job description. Invite your interviewers insight by querying them on what they find rewarding about the organization by asking, “What do you enjoy about working here?”