Career Management: Questions to ask in a job interview
Asking relevant questions in a job interview can be as important as your answers to the interviewer’s questions. By asking questions you will demonstrate your interest, motivation and also preparation, as you can ask clarifications and additional details to information you have acquired before the interview. Asking questions also shows that you are not desperate for a job, but you have options and carefully evaluate who you want to work with.
Getting answers to these questions will also help you to evaluate if this is a good opportunity for you and your career plans. It is easier to make the right decision when you have all the necessary background information about the position, work, career advancement opportunities and company.
You don’t have to go through all these questions, but if you get a chance, ask as much as you can. The more questions you can ask during the interview the better. You also don’t have to wait until the end of the interview to ask. Just be brave enough to ask your own questions after answering some of the related questions from the interviewer. It will give a balanced and conversational tone for the whole event, and you will get a bit more time to collect your thoughts between the barrage of interview questions while interviewer focuses on answering your questions in turn. If you are good at this, you can also turn some of your answers to questions first and get some additional insight before your answer.
Interviewer: “What do you see as your strengths for this role?”
You: “I have a variety of skills / abilities that I believe would be very valuable, but first, could you tell me what you see as most important requirements for this role?
You shouldn’t answer too many questions with questions, unless you want to look like you are deflecting. However, at some strategic points it can be an extremely powerful tactic for gaining insight into what the interviewer is looking for before you formulate your answer.
Interview questions about the role / position
- What is the one most important responsibility or task to manage in this position?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge this role (or team) is currently facing?
- What does the day-to-day work look like for this role?
- What would be my main goals and expectations for the first 12 months?
- What are the key success criteria and measurements for this role?
- What do you think is the most challenging aspect of this job?
- Is this a new position, or vacated one? Why did the previous person vacate the position?
- What skills, traits or characteristics you are looking for in an ideal candidate for this role?
- If you are going to have some P&L responsibility: What kind of budget / budgets I would be working with?
- Where do you see, I could bring most value for the company in this position?
- Which parts of my experience, skills, or characteristics you see as strengths in this position?
The last 2 questions are aimed to make interviewer to think about your strengths and find some that match the position. This will hopefully get him/her a bit more invested in you and seeing what you have in more positive light.
Interview questions about team and colleagues
- What kind of team would I be working with, and who would be my closest colleagues?
- What could you tell me about my direct manager and his/her leadership style?
- If your would-be manager is in the interview, you can ask this directly: “What is your leadership style or principles?”
- What can you tell about my direct reports (if the position has any)?
- Is there a chance to meet and talk with my potential team before either one of us makes any decisions?
- What is the biggest challenge for this team, and how do you think I could help to overcome it?
Interview questions about development and growth possibilities
- What kind of onboarding process you have in place?
- What kind of professional development or training opportunities the company and this job provide?
- What is the possible career path for this role in the coming years?
- How long am I intended to stay in this role before moving forward?
Don’t push hard on the last question. Ask it only, if it seems appropriate and the interviewer has already told you about a possibility for career advancement as per previous question. If you push too hard for the next roles at this stage, interviewer might think that you aren’t interested enough in the role in question.
Interview questions about your fit for the job
- How do you see my fit for this role? What strengths and assets do you see?
- Is there anything in my resume or in this interview that would make you doubt my fit for the position? If so, lets discuss and clarify the situation.
Interview questions about the company
- What is the financial status of the company, is it solid? (ask only if you don’t have access to the financial statements otherwise. Public companies’ financial data is available for anyone, so you should check this before the interview rather than asking)
- What are the future plans and forecast for the company? Is the company growing and expanding?
- What are the company values? Ask only if these are not visible elsewhere. If you know the values already (for example from studying the company website), you could ask for example: “How do these xx or yy company values show in the daily work”
- Could you tell me a bit about the company culture, and how it shows in day-to-day work?
Interview questions for the interviewer
- How do you like working here?
- What is the best thing about this company?
- Is there anything that you think would surprise me if I started working here?
- Why did you choose to work for this company?
Questions about the interview process & next steps
- What are the next steps on the recruitment process?
- When can I expect to hear back from you?
- Is there anything else I could provide you with that would be helpful on making the decision, a recommendation letter, for example? Offer any additional help or materials that you might have
- Do you have any doubts or concerns about my fit for the role and company? If so please let’s clarify them.
This is a strong way to end the interview and gives you one last shot to make an impression or clear any doubts the interviewer might have about you.
It is ok to have all these questions printed out, so you remember them. It is also ok to take quick notes about the answers. It just shows that you are prepared and care about the answers.
It is also good to remember that if you are invited to the interview, your skills and experience are already on required level, so you don’t need to stress about that. Just relax and focus on telling how your skills and experience would be a fit for the role and the company.
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