You know “hire me” is what you are saying when you show up at a job interview with a professional appearance. “Hire me” is what you are saying when you have combed through your resume, carefully removing any errors, and have found solid references to support you when the human resources department sorts through applications. However, many hopeful interviewees don’t realize that having no questions of their own at the end of an interview is actually telling the employer “don’t hire me!”

You hope to get hired, but not asking your own questions leaves a typical human resources interviewer with the idea that you aren’t motivated, haven’t done research on the company, and don’t have serious interest in the position.

You may not be able to think of any questions, and you probably have realized that forced, or irrelevant questions will be harmful in your chances of getting the job. The wrong questions will leave a bad taste in the mouth of the hiring manager and HR, but the right questions will make you stand out from the crowd as a strong, memorable, superstar applicant.

Always do your research. Knowing the goals, mission, and approach of the company you are considering, will make a huge difference in the strength of your interview. Raising red flags might cost you the job, so understanding red flags vs green flags will be essential before your interview. Preparing a few serious, insightful, and relevant questions will prove to an employer that you are dedicated, inquisitive and thoughtful – all important characteristics for a potential employee to display and green flags to HR.

While there is no set number of questions to ask, here are some ideas for you to work from (the _____ in each question refers to answers you have found researching the specific company you are interviewing with):

1. I know your company believes _________ and __________ is important, but what do your employees do to make your company (or department) successful?

2. What do you do differently than your competitors?

3. What characteristic do your most successful employees have that sets them apart from everyone else?

4. Recently, I saw your employees were able to ______________. Is this something I would have the opportunity to do in this position?

5. Are there any professional organizations you ask your employees to join?

6. What would you recommend I do to further prepare for this position?

Carefully consider what is said during the interview; you raise a red flag when you ask questions that have already been answered. Be sure to plan several questions for your interview so you aren’t stuck if some of them are answered in the general flow of the conversation.

Be sure to educate yourself with the potential red flags vs green flags you will encounter. You can be a superstar candidate by putting in the hard work it takes to stand out from the crowd. Get hired by being prepared and leaving a positive impression.

In summary: It always raises a Red Flag with me when a candidate doesn’t ask one question about the Company, the position, the environment, what work they would be involved in, what the products does etc. You may just want to ask a general question about where their service offering to their clients is going, what other enhancements they are looking to implement over the next 6 / 12 / 18 months. It shows forward thinking. Have your questions prepared – just as you would have your project and work experience prepared. Advanced preparation is half the battle. Executing or delivering those questions is what makes you look like s superstar.