Questions You Should Absolutely Ask the Interviewer
You’ve landed an interview, researched the company, and probably practiced the “standard” interview questions. “Well, my weaknesses are actually strengths…” What’s next?
Candidates are often hesitant to ask a lot of questions during interviews. They fear they’ll come across as difficult. Or worry they’ll be judged by what they want to know, especially in a competitive market. However, not only are asking questions during an interview crucial to your future success. They can also be used to sell yourself further. Asking intelligent questions can communicate your interest and illustrate preparedness. An interview should always be a two-way street: you should be assessing the company and future manager as much as they’re assessing you. If you’re leaving one company for another, you need be sure it’s for a much better opportunity.
Years of interviewing and receiving feedback from hiring managers has led to the compilation of the best questions to ask during an interview to ensure you succeed in the interview and the position.
What does a typical week look like in this position? What are the day-to-day responsibilities?
Job descriptions are frequently boilerplate HR language. Asking these questions will provide a more in-depth glimpse into what you’ll be expected to do on a regular basis.
What type of people tend to thrive here, and what type don’t do as well?
It’s a more eloquent way of asking what the culture there is like. This will provide valuable insight into what they’re looking for in a candidate and how they measure success. You can easily decode key phrases like, “work hard, play hard” or “no one watches the clock here,” as red flags that they expect you to work longer hours regularly.
What are the biggest challenges that someone stepping into this role will face?
Listen for turnover, process breakdowns, employee or budgetary issues, etc. Then contrast them against your own experiences and skills in the areas. If an employer says “none,” proceed with caution.
What do your successful employees do differently?
You want to find out the key traits that top performers possess in order to compare yourself and gauge the opportunity.
What do you expect someone in this position to accomplish in the first 30-, 60-, 90-days?
Take note of any special projects or pain points mentioned. This question should also shed light on metrics or how the company measures success. Generally speaking, you should be building relationships, taking stock of processes, and establishing yourself as a leader within the first 30-days.
With which key stakeholders will this position routinely interact?
Identifying the stakeholders with which you’ll regularly be in contact with will help you understand how this role ties in with the rest of the company. It can also be a good measure of seniority, since every organization has a different hierarchical structure and job titling.
How would you describe your leadership and management style?
This is one of the most crucial pieces of information to uncover during an interview. You spend a quarter of your life at work, so you want to ensure you and your future boss are compatible. If you enjoy working autonomously and they’re a culture of micro-managers, you’ll want to figure this out up front.
What does progression from this role look like?
If you’re looking to meet your 5-year plan, you should be aware of where the role will lead internally and what targets you’ll have to hit to receive promotions.
What’s one thing you’re working to improve as a company?
You may want to preface this by praising their states company values or mission (ensure you know them), in order to frame the question in a flattering light. Asking this provides clarity on company direction. It can also provide further opportunity for you to sell yourself. For example, if they mention they’re trying to improve their software systems, you can provide an example of a system implementation you’ve been a part of.
How has the company changed since you joined?
Turnover is something that few managers like discussing, especially when trying to woo a potential hire. However, you can get a sense of their appetite for change and improvement, (as well as some privileged company history) by learning about their progress.
What do you wish you would have known before joining/when you started?
Sometimes it’s nice to know that everyone who starts with the company feels overwhelmed in their first two weeks. Or that the commute would be a lot longer than you thought. It frames you as the new hire and puts the interviewer into advice-giving mode.
What haven’t I asked that most candidates ask?
This question serves two purposes: it sets you apart by lumping all other candidates together, and, it provides you with insight into questions you may never have thought to ask.
What are the next steps in the process?
Asking this simple final question can save you countless days (or weeks!) of worry by establishing the timeline and setting parameters for follow up.
These questions are only as good as the information is relevant to you. Take time before an interview to think about what information is most important to you and what you need to know in order to make a decision. Try to prepare at least 5-10 questions, as some answers will naturally come out during the interview process. You want to ensure you have a response for the inevitable, “any questions?”
On a final note, ensure you don’t ask anything in an interview that is easily found via a search engine. Like how many locations they have or the types of products they produce. You will come across as less prepared, and possibly, less intelligent, than your peers.
Still unsure about the interview process? Book a career coaching session with us today to answer all your questions and prepare you for your next interview.
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