A few years ago, I considered a cross-country move to work for a renowned public relations firm. I had researched, followed, and immersed myself in everything they were about, to the point of imagining a new life working for them. After some hard work, I eventually landed a phone interview. While my answers to the interviewer were close to ideal, I made a critical mistake that cost me the job. What was it?

At the end of the phone call, I was asked if I had any questions. Already knowing so much about the company from my research, I thought it unnecessary to ask anything further. It was this lack of curiosity that I believe ultimately landed my resume on the cutting room floor.

From that day forward, I came prepared with questions — thought-provoking, intriguing questions that caused my interviewers to reflect on their company’s mission, metrics, and core values. Questions that created a pause in almost all my conversations, that was usually followed by an inevitable, “Wow, that’s a great question!”

Here are five questions you should never avoid in your next interview:

  1. At the end of the next three years (using three years as a measurement for success), what outcome would you like to see as a result of hiring me?
  2. What three significant obstacles will I face in accepting this new role?
  3. Where are the most significant future opportunities to be found in your company, as it relates to my new position?
  4. What are your company’s cultural values, and how are employees held accountable to them?
  5. How do you ensure that innovative ideas move from a lower-level employee to a decision-maker within your company?

The reason these questions work is because they deliberately forecast your future success, and that of the company, while determining whether their corporate culture is a high five or a hard pass. Here’s to your dream job in 2020!