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The Two Best Questions to Ask at a Job Interview

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter tells you two great questions to ask at a job interview and when to ask them.


Today, I'm going to talk with you about the 2 best questions you should ask on every interview, you go on and when you should ask them. Let me start by reviewing the way a typical interview goes.

You walk in. You sit down. The interviewer looks and you and in that certain voice says, "So, tell me about yourself and what you been doing professionally." You answer. Then, they ask you some follow-up questions and you answer those. If you are in disciplines that require certain objective knowledge like in IT, engineering or accounting, they will ask you some questions to measure your knowledge. Eventually, they will say, "So do you have any questions for us?" You will say, "Tell me about the job," and they will do that. You will say, "Sounds great." They will say, "Terrific. We'll get back to you." That is a typical interview.

Let's do a different interview. You walk in and sit down and, as the 2 of you get comfortable in your seats, just as the 2 of you have your derrière reached the seat, I would like you to start talking. You start by saying, "Thank you for making the time to meet with me today. I remember seeing the position description but wanted to get your take on the role. Would you tell me about the job as you see it and what I can do to help?" If you been scheduled by an agent, you might say, "I spoke with Jeff Altman about the job and he gave me a brief description but I wanted to get your take on the role. Could you tell me about the job as you see it and what I can do to help you?"

What this does is take the question you would normally ask at the end of the interview and moves it up to the very beginning. My thinking is even if you seen a job description, even if you reply to in hand or spoken to her recruiter, what you're able to do now is by moving a question to the beginning is get the current thinking about the job and tailor your answers to what matters to them.

You see, even if you seen the job description, from the time they start interviewing until now, they may have changed their thinking about it. As a result, you want to get their current thinking about the job, get that information at the beginning of the interview so you can use it to your advantage.

What are you going to do? Not lie but talk about what you've done in the context of what they are looking for. You see, most people talk about what they've done in the course of the interview, but they don't talk about what they've done in the context of what the employer is looking for because they don't know until the end of the interview what they actually are looking for.

So that's a great question to ask and I have told you exactly when to ask it. So, since we taken that question out of the end of the interview, you can't just simply re-ask the question. You have to substitute a different question. This is the question I'd like you substitute at the end of the interview when they ask you whether you have any questions for them.

"Let's say it's a year from now and it comes time for you to give me my review. I have a just a good job. I have a just a great job. I have done 1 of the best that you have ever seen. What what I've done during that year that would cause you to give that kind of review?"

1. You are giving the employer the idea that you're not going to think small, but are prepared to do great work.
2. You are going to get an idea of how realistic they are in the thinking about the job. If the role, if they talk about something that will be absolutely crazy for you to have accomplished, how could you ever do it?

The real thing is that you are planting a seed in their minds about your drive for excellence, you're getting them to talk about the job and some of the day to day stuff in the role, differently than they might otherwise with a great question that I believe will give you a lot of terrific information.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio” and “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” both available through iTunes and Stitcher.

Are you interested in executive job search coaching, leadership coaching or life coaching from me?  Email me at and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line.

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