An interview isn’t just about being prepared for the questions a hiring manager wants to ask you — it’s also an opportunity to showcase your interest and investment in the role, and a chance for you to gage if the position is the best fit for you through asking your own questions.
So, when the interview is wrapping up and the hiring manager asks you, “Do you have any questions for me?”, it’s best to prepare so you get the answers you need, and leave them with a lasting impression.
A list of 5-10 questions is ideal, so you have a few options when asked (and can eliminate any they may have already addressed throughout the interview). When it comes down to it, asking 3-5 questions is a good goal in terms of getting the information you need while not taking up too much time.
RESEARCH THE COMPANY
Prior to your interview, research the company and re-read through the job description. Note down anything that you would like clarification on or any questions that come to mind.
You can expand this beyond just reading through their website as well. Look at the resources they’ve published, any news articles they are featured in and their social media profiles.
RESEARCH YOUR INTERVIEWErS
In most circumstances, companies will let you know who will be interviewing you prior to your meeting. If not, ask! This can really help in tailoring your questions, as different people will have different knowledge of the role or the company overall.
For example, if the role was a marketing coordinator position, the marketing manager would probably be the best to speak on the day-to-day responsibilities of the position, any goals set for the department, and how the department itself is structured.
However, a VP or CEO would be best to speak on overall vision, strategy and higher level thinking around where the company or organization is heading in the coming years.
If you feel it relevant, you can also do some research into the history of those interviewers. Find out what other roles they have held previously, or if they’ve moved up in the organization itself. Does any of that stand out to you?
REMEMBER WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU
Think about the things that you really value in a work environment. Do you want somewhere where you are provided opportunities for leadership? Somewhere where professional development is highly valued? Do you like working somewhere where there is open communication and feedback from management?
Whatever it might be, you probably have an idea of the elements of an organization that would allow you to thrive in a role, and those can make great interview questions.
A FEW COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Struggling to come up with something to ask your interviewers? Here are a few questions that tend to yield insightful and important answers:
- What does a typical day in this role look like?
- Can you explain the culture of your company to me?
- What are the biggest challenges someone in this role might face?
- What opportunities are there for professional development?
- Is there room for growth in this organization?
- What is your favourite part about working here?
- Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with? What’s the structure like? What is the management style like?
- What types of skills is the team or department missing that you’re looking to fill?
- What are the most important things you’d like this role to accomplish within one month, or three months of employment?
Bear in mind, some of these will be easier to answer for certain people in an organization over others. Choose wisely!
In an initial interview, even the questions you ask of a company are something they can assess you on. So, tread lightly. Ask questions that show your interests and dedication, without assuming you already have the position.
Here are a few topics to avoid:
- Save questions about salary, benefits, vacation, etc. for the second interview or once you have been offered the position.
- Similarly, save questions around flexibility of work hours until you are further in the process.
- Unless clearly discussed in the job description (which is more common with the current global climate), asking about the option to work from home versus in-office is also something for later in the process.
~ written by Lucy Fox
Katie here, owner of The Resume Shop. You’ll notice Lucy penned this article, but I wanted to chime in with an anecdote of Lucy’s job interview, and the impressive question she asked me.
When our interview was nearing it’s end, I asked Lucy if she had any questions. She said she did, and check her notes. “I noticed that the branding on your social media platforms aren’t reflective of the website,” she said. “I was wondering that was intentional, or if I’d have the opportunity to update the graphics to create better cohesion?”
Obviously, I was sold. That was exactly the kind of attention to detail I was looking for in an assistant! A perfect example of a great interview question 🙂
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