A job interview is not just a time for employers to ask questions of a job candidate – to see if they are an ideal fit for the job – it is a chance for smart job applicants to assess how well aligned their goals are with those of the company – and its culture.
Many job seekers focus so hard on answering the interviewer’s questions they forget to ask any further questions of their own (or decline to answer when asked).
Why Should I Ask Questions – And When? Asking the right questions during an interview is important to confirm your qualifications, as a candidate for the position, and it says you are savvy enough to sell yourself and your skill set. Now, if it becomes clear during the interview that you are not interested in the position, it is perfectly acceptable not to ask any final questions. However, if you are interested in the job, and don’t have any final questions when asked, you risk being perceived as someone who is not truly interested, or worse yet, one who perhaps is lacking in self confidence… Don’t Risk It!
What Should I Ask – And Why? There are an infinite number of questions you could ask during a job interview, but we suggest having at least 6 questions in mind and to be prepared to ask three of them – as some of the questions may be answered during the course of the interview. Remember, asking intelligent questions will leave the interviewer with a powerful impression, and set you apart from the other candidates… Be Prepared!
Here are 6 interview questions you can ask, and the answers will help determine if you are a good fit for the company, and equally important, is the company right for you:
1. How would you describe the company’s culture and leadership philosophy?
Listen carefully, as a company’s philosophy and core values speak to its culture – which should then be infused into all aspects of their business practices. A strong company philosophy is not only a great way to guide employees, it can be an excellent branding tool, and generally makes the workplace more congenial.
2. What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?
Do your homework on the employer’s site beforehand, and mention a new product (or service) it may be launching soon. In addition, the answer to this question will also give you a good idea of the company’s trajectory, and the rate in which they plan to grow.
3. What are the most important qualities necessary for maximum success on the job?
This is a great open-ended question, that will not only allow the interviewer to state exactly what the employer is looking for, but it will also allow the candidate to consider if their qualifications are truly a good match.
4. What are some of the challenges facing the organization, and how could my role help resolve some of these issues?
This question illustrates that you have already begun to think about how you can help the company (and the team). In addition, it encourages the interviewer to envision you “on the job” and ready to begin resolving existing organizational challenges.
5. Do you offer any professional training or opportunities for continued education?
This is a great question to ask – for two reasons; it shows that you are interested in expanding your knowledge, along with the company, and it demonstrates the company’s vested interest in the professional and personal development of their employees.
6. What is the next step in the process?
This is the essential last question – and one you should definitely ask. It says you are interested in the opportunity and moving forward with the company. And, it offers the interviewer an opportunity to an explain where they are at in the hiring process, perhaps how many other candidates are being considered for the position, and the timeframe in which a decision will be made.
Recruiters and hiring managers often report – not asking well thought out questions of the prospective employer is one of the most detrimental mistakes job candidates make during the interview process. So, when the opportunity presents itself, and you’re invited to ask questions – do it! Employers welcome questions posed from an inquisitive mind, and value an engaging conversation with a prospective new member of the team. Remember – this may be your last chance to decide if the position, the company and its culture, are the right fit for you.