The Smartest Question to Ask in a Job Interview, According to a CEO Who's Interviewed Hundreds

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In a job interview, the questions you ask are just as important as the answers you give.

Asking smart, thoughtful questions at the end of an interview can help you stand out from other candidates and decide whether a position is the right fit for you.

There is one question, in particular, that goes straight to the heart of what a hiring manager is looking for — and will "instantly impress" them if you ask it, says Bert Bean, CEO of the staffing firm Insight Global.

"I want to make sure I align myself with what success looks like here. What are the top three traits your best performers display, day in and day out, at this company?"

Bean has interviewed hundreds of job candidates throughout his career as a recruiter-turned-CEO. With this question, he explains, you're showing a hiring manager that you're conscientious and driven.

"By asking what success looks like within a team or company, you're demonstrating that you're a go-getter, and someone that wants to learn what skills will help you excel in a role," Bean says.

With this question, you'll also better understand what kind of learning curve you'll face and how your performance will be evaluated.

At the end of the interview, once you've run through all of your questions, you should conclude the conversation with a 30-second elevator pitch that sells the hiring manager on why you're a perfect fit for the role, Bean says.

He recommends the following script to introduce your pitch:

"I don't have any other questions, but if I could say this humbly, here's why you should hire me."

This tactic is so effective, Bean explains, because it gets to the crux of what every interviewer wants to know: Are you the best person for this job?

Ultimately, the secret to acing any job interview is simple, he adds: "You need to sell yourself from the heart."

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