The best question to ask in a job interview can tell you more than you think

Understanding an employer's challenges is one of the best way to pose yourself as the solution they need.

Understanding an employer’s challenges is one of the best way to pose yourself as the solution they need.

  • Career experts agree that job candidates should ask about the company’s biggest challenges when interviewing.
  • Learning how you can help the employer overcome these challenges is a great way to show that you are already thinking about how you can provide value.
  • Whatever you do, make sure to prepare smart questions for any job interview.

Asking questions in a job interview is not only a great way to show your enthusiasm, but it can also demonstrate that you’re already thinking about the role you plan to play in the company’s future.

The best way to convey this intention is by asking a two-part question at the end of your interview:

“What are your company’s challenges, and how can I play a role in helping you overcome them?”

“Being able to have a question about a particular endeavor and how you might be involved in it is a really great way to show enthusiasm and to show that you’re already thinking about what you would do in that role,” career expert and resume writer Andrea Gerson told Business Insider.

Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster, had a similar recommendation.

“Ask how you can excel in the position and you can provide value,” she told Business Insider, “because it shows you’re ambitious, and you also need to know.”

She continued: “You want to get a sense of their values and if they’re in alignment with yours. If there’s something that’s a top priority for you, you want to make sure that it’s also their top priority.”

And beyond making sure your values are aligned with a potential employer’s, establishing a roadmap for how you can succeed in a new position has far-reaching impact – for example, it can shed light on how your salary is determined and how it will change in the future.

While you don’t want to come across like you’re expecting to be promoted in the next three months, Salemi said, you want to establish how the company evaluates your performance, and, with that, your pay. Don’t be afraid to ask about their review process – how will they be measuring your success in the role?

The more relevant, smart questions you can ask in a job interview to gather information and align expectations, the better.

“You absolutely always need to ask questions,” Salemi said. “One of the worst things you can do is not ask any questions.”