An interview isn’t just a chance for the hiring manager to grill you with questions, it’s also your opportunity to determine whether a job is the right fit for you. With each interview you participate in it’s important to come prepared with a few questions to ask of your own. You will be spending 40+ hours a week at this job and it will have a major impact on your day-to-day quality of life. What do you want to know about the position? The company? The team? When the inevitable, “So, do you have any questions for us?” part of the interview comes, take advantage of the opportunity. It's the best way to determine if you'd be happy working for this employer and whether your goals are aligned with theirs. Plus, asking questions is a simple way to convey your enthusiasm for the role and the organization that you're looking to join. Here are several questions you should consider asking during your next job interview:
“How will you measure the success of the person in this position?”
This gets right to the point of what you need to know about the job: what does it mean to do well, and what will you need to achieve in order for the manager to be happy with your performance? Knowing how a company measures its employees' success is important. It will help you understand what it would take to advance in your career there and can help you decide if the employer's values align with your own.
“What are some of the challenges you expect the person in this position to face?”
This is information you’d never be able to get from the job description. It can also create an opportunity for you to talk about how you’ve approached similar challenges in the past, which can be reassuring to your interviewer.
“Can you describe a typical day or week in the job?”
The answer to this question can just help you better visualize what it will actually be like to be in the job day after day. A frank conversation about position expectations and responsibilities will ensure not only that this is a job you want, but also one that you have the skills to be successful in.
“Why did the person before me leave this role? What has turnover in the position generally looked like?”
This might be uncomfortable to ask, but it’s not uncommon and it shows that you are being smart and analytical by wanting to know why someone may have been unhappy in this role previously. If no one has stayed in the job very long, that could be a red flag. If just one person left after a few months, that’s not necessarily a danger sign, sometimes things just don’t work out. But if you hear about a pattern of people leaving quickly, it’s worth asking about further. If you found out they left the role because they were promoted, that's also useful information.
“How would you describe the company culture?”
You want to ensure you’re heading into a company with a culture that aligns with your personal values. If the culture is extremely formal with rigid procedures and you perform best in a more relaxed environment, it may not be the ideal match for you. Asking this question shows the interviewer that you care about your future at the company, and can prevent you from signing up for something you weren’t expecting.
“What do you like about working here?”
You can usually learn a lot by the way people respond to this question. Those who genuinely enjoy their job and the company will have several positive things to say and they typically sound excited and sincere. However, if all you get is a blank stare and a long pause before an unconvincing answer of something like “the paycheck,” consider it a red flag.
“Is there anything else I can provide to help you make your decision?”
This is a simple question that is polite to ask and gives you peace of mind that you have covered all your bases. It also demonstrates enthusiasm and eagerness for the position.
“What’s your timeline for next steps?”
This is a basic logistics question, but it gives you an idea of when you should expect to hear something back. Otherwise, if you’re like many people, you’re quickly going to start worrying about the job and if you should have gotten a response. This is a simple way to relieve a little pressure during the stressful job hunt.