Even though a potential employer is the one asking most of the questions, during any job interview you will get your chance to fire some back at them. Some candidates jump at this chance, while others get shy and forget they actually want to know certain things about the company they could end up working for.
If your answer to this question is “no, I’m good”, then you’re missing a huge opportunity to gain an edge. How will you stand out in a sea of equally qualified applicants?
It’s easy to forget that job interviews are not only done so the company can learn more about you, but also as a way for you to find out more about them. Asking questions is a good sign that you came prepared and are truly interested in the role.
Asking the right questions is important here. Let us help:
“Can you tell me more about the company’s culture?”Ask about their work environment and how employees go about their daily routine. Knowing more about them as a team will help you figure out if you will fit in. It’s important to know whether you’ll be comfortable in the position, to ensure you can do a good job.
“What are your expectations for me if I get this job?”This is different from the skills and competencies outlined in the job description - you want to find out a range of expectations on a day-to-day basis (especially if the person interviewing you will be your manager or person you directly report to.) Answers here could range from the time they expect you to arrive each morning, your availability when not in the office to answer calls and emails, and long-term expectations like, “we expect you to move up to a more senior role within one year”. Knowing these additional points will give you an even better understanding of the job and the business.
“What is the typical career path for your employees?”Everyone wants to climb up the career ladder, so it’s okay to ask for opportunities of career growth. In fact, it’s welcomed! All employers want to hire someone who is keen to work hard and apply themselves. Asking this question shows how motivated you are to succeed in your field.
“How do you define or measure success?”How are you going to succeed if you don’t know how they measure success? Ask them about the goals they will set for you and how they will measure whether you have met them. What counts as success in one business might not matter in another, so it’s crucial you find out exactly how they will define your achievements in this role.
“What do you enjoy most about working here?”We like this question because it often takes the interviewer by surprise, meaning you get an honest answer! If they immediately smile and start talking about things they enjoy - well done, you’re likely onto a winner and a great place to work. If they hesitate, drop their eyes down, and spend too much time thinking about their answer, you might want to head for the door. If the person interviewing you struggles to say what they enjoy, how much are you going to like working there?
“What’s the next step after this interview?”This last query is important because it signals how eager you are to move forward in the process. It is possible they will tell you how many others are vying for the position so you can weigh your chances. Also, you can get a timeline for when you can expect to hear back, and also figure out the right time to send a follow-up. Questions not to ask:“Is it mandatory that I stay late every day?”“How much time off will I get?”“How long can I take for lunch?”“I Googled you and found out you used to work for [company]. Why did you leave?”
These questions might be things you want to know, but they mostly pertain to times you won’t be working - and thus will make you look like you’re just keen to slack off. You might think that last question shows you’ve done your research, but instead you come off looking a little stalker-y. Also, it’s not really relevant.
And there you have it! Make sure you’re armed with some smart questions for your next interview, and chances are you will stand out from the crowd. Good luck!
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