There are many jokes about the “right” interview question. The right ones will reveal what motivates the person, who is it, what do they enjoy, why do they want to work, what they reason do they want to work for you. The purpose of an interview is to find out what you do not already know from a candidate’s resume. Okay, they led a team for a marketing campaign that increased revenue %5 over the last two years. What does this tell you? Did they meet deadlines on time? Was the team working together or just getting by without the help of a leader? Are they the first to show up in the morning and the last to leave at the end of the day? These are important questions that a resume will not answer, but are vital to predicting how successful a candidate would be once hired. Starbucks can teach a barista how to make coffee, but they cannot teach them to smile and leave customers with a positive impression. These personal characteristics are what you need to discover in the interview.

Now let us look at the other side of an interview: what questions should you ask an interviewer to get the best idea of whether you want a job? In an interview setting, you are trying to get to know them just as much as they are trying to get to know you. Make sure to ask questions about the environment of the company: how many of their employees are contractors? What is the average amount of time that employees stay with the company? What is the average amount of time an employee works in a position before being promoted? These are important questions that can help you predict the company’s commitment to their employees and whether they hire for the long-term or there is a lot of turnover.

Both sides of the interview need to try and learn as many personal details as possible in order to determine whether or not they are compatible. A job interview should be approached as a first date: what are the most important things you need to know before deciding if you want to continue pursuing a relationship? Carry this mindset with you into an interview and you will walk out prepared to make a decision as to whether or not to hire a candidate or to accept a job.