10 Questions to Ask at the Interview to Get the Job You Want After 50

By Kerry Hannon

Copyright © 2015 AARP. All rights reserved.

A great interview is essential to landing that job you are seeking. You may want to consider asking a few questions to keep the interview headed for a successful end. Here are ten questions to consider asking and to spark your own imagination to come up with additional questions.

  • Why did you choose this company? The answer to this question helps you size up the company from the perspective of someone who works there. Variations of this question include “What challenges make you excited to come to work each day?” and “What do you like the most about working here?” These questions let somebody see that you’re genuinely attracted to the job and decide whether the company is a good fit for you.

  • How would I exceed your expectations on a short-term basis, say in the first 30 to 60 days on the job? This is a great question, because it conveys your eagerness to start and your commitment to serving the organization’s needs while providing you with insight into the tasks and challenges you’ll be facing if you get the job.

  • What qualities do your very best employees have in common? Again, this question expresses your desire to take the position only if it’s in the best interest of the organization, while the answer gives you a clear idea of what you’ll need to do to succeed as an employee.

  • Is there anything about me, my skills, or my background that you would like me to clarify? This question shows that you want the company to make a well-informed hiring decision, plus it gives you the opportunity to talk about your skills and other qualities you bring to the table that may not have been mentioned yet.

  • Does the company encourage entrepreneurship? An increasing number of companies large and small are offering workers the freedom, flexibility, and resources to work as an entrepreneur within the organization. The buzzword for it: intrapreneurship. An employer or manager who creates a work environment that encourages and supports entrepreneurial culture and opportunities for work on projects outside your direct responsibility can make a huge difference in your happiness at work.

  • What types of mentoring programs do you offer? You may go a step further and add that you enjoy mentoring younger workers, and you’ve also benefited from pairing up with a younger worker who reverse-mentors you — offering help with technology, social media, and so on. This shows you’re hip to the underlying perception of intergenerational tension in the workplace. It also demonstrates your willingness to work with younger coworkers. And it shows that you’re comfortable reporting to a boss who may be younger than you.

  • What’s the salary range for this position? Preface this question by saying that your interest in the position doesn’t revolve around money, but you would be interested in knowing what the range is.

    Expect a pause and then a ballpark figure. Try not to show delight or disappointment. This isn’t a time to negotiate or even to indicate whether the range is acceptable. Save that for the negotiating table, after you get a formal offer. If the interviewer deflects or struggles to answer, reply smoothly, without missing a beat, that you’re looking forward to learning more details when the interviewer is free to share them in your next discussion.

  • Is full-time the only option, or would you consider a contract or consulting arrangement? Ask this question only if you’re open to such an arrangement; otherwise, you may be giving a prospective employer a reason not to hire you for a permanent position. A contracting or consulting arrangement enables you to pursue your passion while perhaps avoiding some of the less attractive responsibilities of the position.