You’re not the only one be interviewed; you should be interviewing your prospect employer as well. It’s just as important for it to be the right fit for you as it is for them. During each opportunity, use breaks in the conversation to ask the interviewer a few “meat-on-the-bone” interview questions. These are designed to help you gain greater insights into the interviewer, the company, and the role. Here are just some of the effective questions you could use:

  • “What attracted you to XYZ Widget Company?” Ideally, you should pose this question directly to a specific interviewer, someone who has been with the company less than two years.
  • “What keeps you coming back day after day?” This question demonstrates your interest in the interviewer, but can help to reveal what an insider (the interviewer) likes best about the company.
  • “What are three or four characteristics of top performers in your organization?” Ask this directly to everyone you interview with to learn about the desired, leading traits in his or her organization. In essence, you are asking about the corporate culture.
  • “Tell me about your management style and what characteristics you look for when hiring somebody that’s going to produce the most productive working relationship?” If you are interviewing with someone who works with the individual you’ll be working with, phrase the question this way: “Tell me about “so-and-sos” management style. What characteristics does he/she look for in people that produce great working relationships?”
  • “What are three to four key contributions you would expect from my performance the first year?” This is different from the accomplishments question asked when you threw the first punch. In this one, you’re ideally looking for specifics, potentially even some key performance indicators.
  • “Describe your corporate culture and the type of person who thrives in your organization?” If you’ve done your homework, you should have some idea of what the culture is like. But getting an insider’s view can help you see whether you are truly a best fit.
  • “Now that you have had time to meet with me and learn about my experiences, how do you see my background adding value to your company?” This is what’s known as a “Pre-Close Question,” or one to pose near the end of the interview. This question requires the interviewer to verbally provide an answer to your question. So, if positive, they will hear themselves reflect to you why they think you are a good fit. The flip side is it exposes any misunderstandings, what I call a yellow light. If this is the case, there is a way for you to overcome this misunderstanding before the interview is over.


Remember, this is just as much an interview for them as it is for you! Get a copy of my book, The Executive Leap to learn about “throwing the first punch” with an effective first question in your next interview.