A job interview is more than a chance for the hiring manager to determine whether or not you are a good fit for their organization. It is also an opportunity for you to determine whether or not a job is the right fit for you and your ultimate career goals. The only way to do that is to ask thoughtful questions that will uncover the details you need to make the right decision.
The Right Questions Differentiate You
Questions can also be an effective strategy for differentiating yourself from other candidates. Most people ask standard questions about salary and benefits, and old standbys like, “Can you describe a typical day for your engineers,” or “Tell me what you like most about working here.” Stand out from the crowd while getting the information you need by asking questions like these:
Questions Related to the Job:
- What are the most immediate needs that need to be addressed?
- What soft skills and personal attributes must you have to succeed in this position?
- What types of skills are missing on the team that you are looking to address with a new hire?
- Presuming I get the job, what are the key accomplishments you’d like to see from me over the next three months, six months and year?
- How have the main responsibilities of this position changed over the last five years?
- Can you describe the performance review process?
- What metrics or goals will my performance be evaluated against?
Questions Related to the Team You Will Be Working With
- Who will I work with most closely on a daily basis?
- What is the management style of the person/people I report to?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the team?
- What group in the company does this team have the most difficulty working with? Why?
- Will you be adding more people to the team in the next six months?
Questions Related to Company Culture
- How would you describe the company culture in five words or less?
- Is the environment here more collaborative or independent?
- Can you tell me about the last team event you held?
- What is different about working here than other places you have worked?
- How has the company changed since you joined?
The All-Important “Next Steps” Questions
Every job seeker knows the importance of asking about next steps, but many people forget to ask those critical questions once they are in the hot seat. These are important questions to ask because they demonstrate your interest in the position and provide a timeline for the remainder of the process. Don’t leave without asking:
- Is there anything that concerns you about my background being a fit for this role?
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
- Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?
You do not have to ask every question on this list, nor should you. Pick and choose the questions that will help you get the information you need to determine if a job is the right fit. Give the interviewer enough time to answer, and don’t keep them tied up longer than necessary. If you don’t get all of your questions answered, you can always follow up in an email.