The job interview process is critical to landing the job of your dreams or just the job you need right now to pay bills. Every job interview is about managing expectations, both for you and your prospective employer, ensuring there’s no miscommunication.
While you should know what questions a recruiter or hiring manager is likely to ask, you should also know what questions to ask your interviewer. There are multiple steps in the interview, and the question-and-answer process should never be one-sided.
Why Ask Questions During Your Job Interview?
During a job interview, you should ask questions to gain insight into your responsibilities, potential for career advancement, work schedule, and anything that could impact your experience as an employee.
You should have some idea of what questions the interviewer will ask you and prepare to answer these questions with ease. Creating your own list of questions is just as important and can even improve your chances of landing the job.
A good question shows you’ve thought seriously about working at this company and that you take pride in where you work.
Prepare Your List of Questions
Before the interview, write out the questions you don’t have answers to from the job posting or any previous communication with the hiring manager. Avoid asking questions that have already been answered because this will come across as if you’re not listening or don’t retain information well.
Prepare your list on your phone or a post-it note and study it before the interview, so you have a clear idea of what information you need to take away from the conversation to make a decision about working for the company.
What Does a Typical Day in the Position Look Like?
Asking about what a day in the job looks like helps you manage your expectations. You should enter into a new job understanding the types of projects you’ll be involved in daily.
How is Performance Measured?
Ask how your employer measures performance. There may be numerous key performance indicators (KPIs) your employer uses to determine whether an employee is entitled to a raise, a bonus, or a promotion.
You can also ask the interviewer what they expect to see a new worker achieve in a specified period, such as 90 days from onboarding. What about in the first 12 months? Inquire about how frequently you’ll receive feedback on your work and whether your direct superior will hold regular performance reviews.
What’s the Team Like?
If your job is team-based, ask how many people you’ll be working with and your role within the team environment.
If you are working with or under several people, ask who you’ll be reporting to directly and arrange to meet this person. If this person will be your primary manager, it’s worth getting to know them before accepting the position.
How Would You Describe the Company Culture?
You should also ask about the company’s culture to know how to adapt, if necessary, to the office environment. Is there a dress code, does management encourage after-work activities with co-workers, and how conservative is the company’s culture?
You should also ask about company values and mission statements, provided this information isn’t available online already. Asking about the internal culture can help you determine whether the company emphasizes the happiness of its employees.
How much do you expect workers to collaborate in their day-to-day activities? Do office employees spend time together outside of work hours? What’s the work-life balance like?
Furthermore, it’s worth asking how management resolves disputes between workers in the office. This also indicates you understand the importance of resolving disputes calmly and professionally.
What is the Training Period for the Position?
It’s important to ask about the duration of the training period and any additional education you’ll require throughout your employment to stay up to date on industry standards. Are there training programs available for employees to develop their skills or learn new ones? Some companies offer career coaching to keep workers moving forward.
Are There Opportunities for Career Advancement in this Role?
You may want to ask about the prospects for career advancement within the company and in this specific role. Though potentially daunting, this is an important question that demonstrates your ambition, desire to continue learning, and your long-term mindset.
It’s also a way to protect your interests because you deserve to understand whether the job presents growth opportunities.
What Challenges is Someone in this Role Likely to Face?
This question doesn’t demonstrate apprehension; it shows the interviewer you want to prepare for any eventuality. Your interviewer should be candid with you regarding workplace challenges so you can assess whether you’ll be a good fit for these tasks.
What Skills or Experience are Currently Missing From Your Team?
Asking this question gives you an idea of what the company is looking for in a new hire and helps you decide if you have what it takes to fill the job.
While hard skills might be obvious depending on the role, you should also find out what soft skills are valued in the position. Soft skills are much harder to teach and learn, so having them (or not having them) could make or break your success with the company.
Can You Tell Me What It Looks Like to be Successful in the Position?
This is a great question that demonstrates a commitment to the quality of your work and your desire to perform well. The open-ended phrasing invites the hiring manager to expand on the qualities they need to see in an employee and helps you learn how you can do well under this manager.
Questions that Show Interest in the Company
While you should conduct your research regarding the company before the interview, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions regarding the business you’re applying for or the industry it’s in.
Not everything about a company is available online. Show your interest in the organization by asking specific details about its establishment or founders, how the interviewer thinks the company will perform in the next five years, the company’s plans for growth, and what the interviewer finds the most exciting about the company’s direction.
As the interview draws close, ensure the interviewer has all the information they require to make an informed decision regarding your application. Ask whether the interviewer has any final questions, whether there’s anything in your background they need help understanding, and when you should expect to hear from them.
In addition to clarifying any previous points discussed, ask the interview whether they have hesitations regarding your skills, experience, or background. This shows you’re confident in explaining or working on your weaknesses, striving to become better.
Always thank the interviewer for their time and for considering your application. As a parting question, ask what the next steps are and what’s required before the company is prepared to give you an offer.
You probably won’t ask every question you plan to, but as long as you arrive prepared, you’ll make a good impression and get the information you need. Remember that the job interview isn’t just for the employer to get to know you, but for you to gauge whether this is a place you see yourself fitting in, being happy, and finding success long-term.
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