So you have been called in for an interview. Chances are you are expecting to be asked a ton of questions and hopefully you are practicing your answers. But, have you missed a critical step in your preparation, by not preparing interview questions for applicants?
The best interviews are a two-way street. It is an opportunity for the employer to get to know you, your skills, your experience, and your attitude to determine whether or not you will be a good fit for them. It is also an opportunity for you to ask some questions to help decide whether their company and this position will be a good fit for you!
Here are a few questions you can ask:
What will a typical day look like?
We have all been there; something sounds so good on paper but the reality is far different. It’s no different when it comes to jobs. A job advertisement is merely that, an advertisement. It is an opportunity to catch your attention and entice you to act – while maintaining integrity. Only so much can be described in an ad, so it is up to you to ask for a clearer picture during the interview process.
What are some common challenges?
Just hearing about the upside of a job and the ideal results is only one piece of the puzzle. To determine if this position is right for you, you need to understand some of the pitfalls as well. Maybe you are looking for a job that provides a ton of challenges, or you are not keen on a job that is struggling with overly outdated technology. If you want to know if you are up to the challenge – you first need to know what the challenge is.
How will success be measured?
Knowing how a company measures success is an important part of the employment relationship. Your employer wants you to be successful, and you want to succeed – so understanding how success is going to be measured will help you move in the right direction. Performance management isn’t always a formal annual review, it could be more regular yet informal conversations about individual projects. Whether your success is defined by meeting hard and fast metrics, or on your last contribution – you want to be able to gather that feedback.
What do you like about the company?
Imagine asking an interviewer “what do you dislike about the company”, chances are you will get a strange look and your question will be entirely avoided. It would be highly unprofessional for any team member to say disparaging things about the company they are supposed to be representing and assessing candidates for. That being said, it is important to get a sense of the overall culture. You will be able to tell by the interviewers answer if they are genuinely satisfied, or if they are just trying to say what you want to hear by simply asking what they like about the company.
When do you expect to make a decision?
Is the company expecting to make a quick decision on hiring, or are they expecting the process to take a few weeks. If you are really interested in this position, asking about their hiring timeline will help reduce the stress and anxiety you could experience while you wait for the phone to ring. It will also help you determine the best time to follow up. If they are expecting to make a decision in a few weeks, you do not want to come across as pushy by calling for an update every few days. On the other hand, if they are expecting to make a decision that week – you may want to send an immediate follow up to demonstrate your interest.
There are plenty of resources online that can help you narrow down just the right questions to ask, but no matter what questions you ask the goal is to maintain professionalism and to keep your interview conversational.