3 Questions Smart Job Seekers Ask to Make a Good Impression

This isn’t your first job search. So, you already know that it’s essential to ask questions along the way. Quite obviously, they help you clear up any confusion and learn additional information.

But that’s not all: The right questions can also help you make a good impression.

That’s because most job seekers have blinders on. Their sole focus is landing the job, and so they only ask questions toward that end. But, if you take the time to pose those that are thoughtful, and don’t just seem like you’re checking a box, you’ll impress the other person.

So, ask the questions below at the appropriate stage, and you’ll be memorable for the right reasons.

1. During a Networking Meeting: “Can I Help You Meet Any of Your Career Goals?”

It’s called an “informational interview” because it’s your chance to get the scoop on the other person’s role, company, and career trajectory.

And so, you already know it’s an opportunity to ask your contact about the company culture, and if they have any advice for someone in your shoes.

While you may feel like you’ve been asking the other person about themselves the entire time, many job seekers often overlook asking how you can help, too.

You might not think of it, since you’re coming to the other person for expertise. But there could be someone in your network they’d love to meet; or maybe you excel at something at which they’re a beginner.

By offering to help, you instantly make the conversation less one-sided, which makes the impression that you’re someone who thinks about others.

2. During the Application Process: “I Had a Question Regarding [Area of Confusion]. Could You Clarify/ Explain/Resend [Whatever’s Needed]?”

There’s a lot on your mind as a job applicant. And so, in an ideal world, every part of the application process would be straightforward. It’d be clear where you should submit all of your materials, and the email exchange between you and the hiring manager would make total sense.

But application pages can be confusing. And hiring managers are people, too, and sometimes we rush through an email. Which is why we understand when we’re contacted with questions. Keeping it simple and brief, like the question above is the way to go.

This may seem pretty obvious, but when I was reviewing applications, emails with questions always made an impression on me. If someone wrote out multiple paragraphs so I had to hunt for what they were asking, or if they took a harsh tone, than that impression (longwinded, rude) stuck. Conversely, if someone asked something that was polite and to-the-point, I made a mental note. I imagined that’s how they’d respond to an issue that arose on the job, as well.

Not to mention, it sets you up to be more successful than if you were confused and didn’t say anything at all.

While you shouldn’t make up a question just to contact the hiring manager (We can see through that!), should you need additional information, use the opportunity to impress with your communication skills.