You know that terrifying moment in a job interview when the person interviewing you says, “So, do you have any questions for me?” By that point, many candidates have been listening intently, trying to absorb information rather than thinking of questions to ask during a job interview. It’s hard to get out of the “hey-aren’t-you-supposed-to-be-asking-ME-questions?” mindset.
Asking good questions can set you apart from the rest of the applicant pool by showing you’re a little daring, but still respectful, inquisitive and curious. Here are a few of the better questions to ask – ones that give you insight into your potential manager’s style, as well as the company culture.
As a manager, what frustrates you about the people that work for you?
This can be a heads-up for you as an employee, so you could avoid doing those very things. It also gives you a glimpse of your potential manager’s style and personality, which is crucial in a good working relationship.
Does the company have internal celebrations often?
If a fun workplace for you means special occasions, asking this question can help you gauge what the culture is. The answer will vary, of course, but try to get details – is it a couple cupcakes for a staff member’s birthday, or do they have monthly blowout bashes for exceeding sales goals?
Has anyone on your staff been promoted over the past few years?
If professional development is what you’re looking for, it’s important to figure out if promotions are commonplace, few-and-far-between, or virtually nonexistent.
What type of work do you delegate to your staff?
Try to figure out if you’ll be in charge of projects, assisting where needed, or a general worker bee. Get a good idea of the level of responsibility you might have. Also, this question can give you insight into whether your boss is controlling or more lax in style.
What have been the main characteristics of your favorite employees?
First, you can see if the qualities listed off are things that you already possess or can definitely work on. If the interviewer praises someone’s outstanding organization skills, but you’re the Queen of Random Post-Its, it’s definitely something to consider.
If you don’t think you’re gutsy enough to ask such specific questions, you can always revert to the old standbys: “How would you describe your managerial style?” “How would you describe the culture here?” and “Does your company take risks?”
When it comes down to it, you shouldn’t leave an interview confused about what your role would be or how you’d fit into the company culture. Ask the questions you need to ask to get this information, and it will make the decision much easier – assuming, that is, you get a job offer.