Question MarkInterviewing is a 2-way street. Not only is the interviewer asking you questions to see if you’d be a good hire, you should be doing your own due diligence and asking questions to see if the position is good fit for you. There are a lot of good questions to ask (and you should), depending on the role you’re seeking and what you’ve already found out about the company, but there are three key questions that will help you excel in your job interview.

1. What’s most appealing to you about my background? This is a great question to ask early in the interview because it will enable you to frame your answers accordingly. If the interviewer is interested in your sales skills, you don’t want to be going on and on about your impressive operations expertise. You want to uncover the interviewer’s needs and goals and then tell them how you can help them achieve them.

2. Is there anything that would prevent us from moving forward? For some people, this is a scary question because it may actually prompt the interviewer to express why you’re not a good fit for the position. But, that’s exactly the kind of information the question is designed to illicit. If  you don’t ask this question, you’ll never have the opportunity to address the concern the interviewer has about hiring you. By asking this question, you have the opportunity to address any doubts and ideally, change the interviewer’s opinion.

3. What are the next steps? This question enables you to find out the interviewer’s plans and his or her time table for completing the interviewing and hiring process.

After the interview always write a followup thank you note. Not only is this is another opportunity to market yourself, the followup note gives you a chance to reiterate your interest in the position, to emphasize some key strengths that were important to the interviewer and to rehabilitate any area that you felt you handled poorly in the interview.

If it’s a close contest between you and another candidate (and many are in today’s competitive job market), asking the right questions and sending a well-crafted followup, thank you note can mean the difference between hearing the words “You’re Hired!” and crickets.