3 Questions to Ask in any Job Interview

In this down economy, a lot of people are looking for jobs. Part of the interviewing process is asking good questions of the interviewer.

Marcus Buckingham lists three questions you should always ask, and I think he’s right:

  1. What are the three top priorities for the person in this position during the next ninety days?
  2. What are the key strengths you’re looking for in the person you select for this position? How do these strengths relate to what this position is responsible for?
  3. How would you describe the company culture? Would you give me some examples of the culture in action?

First, you ask about top priorities so you can know what’s expected, especially at the start, and so you can identify if the employer has sufficiently thought through the position. If they don’t know what to expect, you won’t know what to expect. (And one of the three priorities they list will hopefully be: learn the position well.)

Second, you ask about strengths because the purpose of any organization is to make strength productive and because you will be at your best when you are in a role that calls upon your strengths. If the organization does not have this mindset, it’s a yellow flag and it may not serve you to work there. So you want to know if they think in terms of maximizing strengths. Also, you want to know if the position matches your strengths and thus if you truly are a good fit.

Third, you ask about the culture because this is fundamental to knowing your “fit” and because you want to work for organizations with a healthy culture. One of the best answers a potential employer could give to this question is: “Trust.”

And one last thing: Present your true self. First, this is right. Second, the interview will go better. Third, it won’t serve you or the company if you get the job on the basis of an inaccurate understanding of your fit for the position.

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  • http://theincarnate.blogspot.com Matt Stephens

    Thanks for sharing! This is very timely for me as I “hunt.” I wish so many churches were not looking for people with the same, very narrow (and rare) skill set.

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  • Rachael Starke

    Speaking from experience where I did *not* ask these questions, Buckingham is dead on. It may be tempting to those really struggling and needing to put food on the table, but the consequences of finding yourself in a job that’s the wrong fit, with a culture that is toxic, while still needing to put food on the table, can be severe.