When it comes to job interviews we often see it as a one-way street, with the hiring manager holding all the cards – asking all the questions – making all the decisions. In reality it’s a two-way interaction. You are also interviewing the company to be sure it’s the right fit for you. An interview is supposed to be a dialogue, not an inquisition. If you don’t have any questions prepared to ask the prospective employer, you’re missing a huge opportunity.
Asking the right questions at an interview is important for these reasons: First, when done correctly the questions you ask demonstrate your interest in the company. Second, you are interviewing the employer just as much as the employer is interviewing you. This is your opportunity to find out if this is an organization where you want to work. Thirdly, employers make judgments about you based on the questions you ask.
How many questions should you ask? It really depends on what you need to know. You should enter an interview with at least five questions and asking three of them.
Questions You Might Ask in a Job Interview:
What skills and experiences would make an ideal candidate? This is a good open-ended question that will have the interviewer state exactly what he/she is looking for.
Do you offer continuing education and professional training? This is a great positioning question, showing that you are interested in expanding your knowledge. It will also tell you how committed the company is toward educating its employees.
Can you tell me about the team (employees) I’ll be working with? This question assumes you will get the job (confidence). It also tells you about the people you will interact with on a daily basis, so listen to the answer closely.
Who previously held this position? This question will tell you whether that person was promoted or fired or if he/she quit or retired. That, in turn, will provide a clue to whether there’s a chance for advancement, employees are unhappy, the place is in turmoil, or the employer has workers around your age.
What is the next step in the process? This is the essential last question and one you should ask. It shows that you’re interested in moving along in the process and invites the interviewer to tell you how many people are in the running for this position. With luck, the answer you’ll hear will be, “There is no next step; you’re hired!”
What do you consider the most challenging aspect of this position for someone who is new to your organization? Make sure there are no surprises down the road about your work responsibilities.
What qualities are you looking for in your new hires? Does the hiring manager’s response fit what your skills and interest are?
Could you tell me about a typical day in this job? Remember it is a two-way street and you need to be sure this is a good fit for you.
What are the three biggest challenges I would face in the first six months? This question tells the interviewer you’re serious about the job and want to succeed. Knowing what the immediate challenges would be for the job will help you determine if this is a job you can and want to perform effectively, and whether doing so will help establish you as a strong player.
Remember, both you and your interviewer should have a say in evaluating the potential match between the organization’s needs and your ability and desire to fulfill them. If you fail to ask questions, you’re making it more difficult for the employer to get a balanced idea of your qualifications and personality.
75% OF PEOPLE WHO LEAVE THEIR JOBS DON’T QUIT THEIR JOBS; THEY QUIT THEIR BOSSES!
The question is, did you really know what you were getting into? Did you ask the right questions to make a good decision to accept or decline the job offer?