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Questions You Should Ask The Interviewer

February 11, 2016

Most employers will end your interview by asking if you have any questions for them. The purpose of this question is two fold.

First, this is an opportunity for you to address anything they may have skipped over in the interview process or any concerns that you may have.

Even though you are doing everything you can to convince them that you are a good fit for their organization, it’s just as important that they are a good fit for you.

When I first graduated from college, I was offered a job at a small financial firm. It was my first “real” job offer, and in a tough economy, I was thankful for anyone that wanted to pay me money.

While it should have been a red flag that they offered me the job after only 15 minutes on the phone, I visited their office to meet them in person.

Upon arriving, I noticed that there were a lot of empty desks. At the end of our meeting, I asked if they were planning on expanding. When they said they didn’t have any intentions to do so at the moment, I knew that meant there were empty desks because of high employee turnover.

The red flag continued to wave.

It was tempting to accept any job out of college, but I quickly came to the conclusion that continuing the job search was better than working for a company that wouldn’t be a good fit or had unhappy employees.

The American Time Use Survey says that the average employee will spend 8.9 hours of their day working.

Yes, the job market is tough. And yes, sometimes you have to accept a position that may not be your dream job to start paying off your student loans. But do everything you can to make sure that 8.9 hours is for a company that is a good fit and values you. Use this part of the interview to get good insight into the company.

Second, and probably most importantly, interviewers use this as an opportunity to see how well prepared you are. Don’t be fooled! The interview isn’t over yet!

Charlene from Gap said it’s just as important to get to know the company, just like they are getting to know you. She said, “Some companies do employee satisfaction surveys and you can ask if they conduct that and if so, how often and what are the things on the survey that employees rate the highest and what are some of the things they are working on as a company … One other option is to ask if you can speak with someone that is currently performing the position you are interviewing for and seek out their opinion about what they love and what they find challenging.”

By having prepared and thought provoking questions to ask them, you can set yourself apart from your competition.

I once interviewed at a company that had recently made an acquisition. This acquisition seemed a little out of character for the company, which allowed me to ask if they were changing their strategy. Not only did it show I did my homework and was familiar with the then current strategy of the company, it highlighted that I understood the bigger picture.

This question may be daunting for you. You can be so focused on answering their questions during the interview, you blank. Be prepared and come up with three to five questions ahead of time that you can ask them.

Here is a list of smart questions to ask your interviewer to get you started:

Questions about the role you are interviewing for:

  1. Can you describe a typical day in this role?
  2. Is their room for growth in this position? What is a typical career path for someone in this position?
  3. How often would I work on teams versus work individually?
  4. How would my performance be evaluated?
  5. Do you give frequent feedback?
  6. What would you expect me to accomplish in the 6 months?
  7. What makes someone successful in this position?
  8. What makes someone unsuccessful in this position?
  9. Is this a new role in the company?
  10. How many people are directly reporting to my supervisor?

Questions about the organization:

  1. Does the company value and invest in professional training for its employees?
  2. What do you like about working here?
  3. What is challenging about working here?
  4. How long do people typically work here before leaving?
  5. What are the long-term goals for this company?
  6. If you’ve done your research and noticed that the company has had something big happen in the news (they acquired a new company, they rebranded, they introduced a new product, etc.), you can ask how that move will help achieve the company goals.
  7. What are the company’s core values?
  8. Does the company support any local or national charities?

Questions about interview process:

  1. What’s next in the interview process?
  2. When will you be making a decision on filling this position?
  3. Do you have any other questions for me?

This list is just a starting point. Ask questions that are conversational rather than ones that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”. This will give you another opportunity to speak on yourself and build rapport with the interviewer.

It’s easy to think that you are a under a microscope and blank on these questions, but if all else fails, remember that you are a human being and have a normal conversation with them about the company that they work for.

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