Secrets to landing your dream job at a US company #3: Asking Good Questions

I was recently reading an article on top reasons that hiring managers or HR reject a candidate. Scroll down to the “Phone interview red flags” section here:

Number one is lack of enthusiasm, which I cover in this blog post.

Number two is interesting though. Not asking questions. If the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, and you say no….that could be a deal breaker. This comes as a surprise to international people. But there are a number of reasons for it.

1.American companies prefer employees who are curious and proactive. They want you to show an active interest in the position, the day-to-day work, the office environment, and any number of other key points (see question suggestions below.)

If you don’t do this, they may think you aren’t that interested. They may also think you haven’t done any research or have no intellectual curiosity. (Both of these options are bad.)

2.As I mentioned in another recent post: research is critical to successful job interviews. You have to show that you’ve read the blogs, checked out the social media, seen the interviews with company CEO’s, etc. And of course when you’ve done research you’ll have questions. It’s part of being curious and an active information gatherer.

Companies in the US love that.

So now that I’ve established that you must ask questions, what should you ask? There’s a lot of good advice on the internet about this. But it boils down to some general areas to ask about:

1.Company or team challenges, decisions, investments, areas of expansion etc. If you find out in a blog that the company is expanding their design department, ask about it. Maybe you’ve seen a social media post mentioning a new project. Ask about that.

Emphasize that you did research and learned an interesting fact and want to know more. (Extra points if you can add insight or a solution to an existing challenge the team is having!)

2. Job expectations, metrics, how success is measured, etc. What does a successful employee in this role look like? How will you be evaluated?

3. What is the work environment / managing style like?

4.Research the interviewer and ask about their journey, their background, what they like about the job, how they got into the field, etc. You may feel this is too personal for cultural reasons. But it’s perfectly ok in the US and it can help break the ice. People love to talk about themselves!

So good luck and don’t be afraid to ask that question! It might give you the edge you need!

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