Job interviews are probably the most nerve-wracking part of the hiring process as they often feel like being interrogated for a crime you did not commit: you’re trying to prove your innocence (or, in this case, your value as an employee in their company) but the interrogator (read: interviewer) just doesn’t believe you.
Your job interview is a test, and it’s one that you should aim to pass with flying colors. But no matter how detailed and perfectly crafted your answers are to even the craziest questions, and no matter how well you’ve prepared for this seemingly single most important moment in your professional life, it’s all too easy to forget that interviews are a two-way street.
Not only do interviews provide potential employers with the opportunity to ascertain your candidacy, but they’re also a great opportunity for you to find out a little more about the job and the company. Think of it like a date: if your date spends the entire evening asking you questions and listening to what you have to say, he/she might start to feel that you’re not all that interested in them when you don’t make an effort to ask a little more about them.
When preparing for your next interview, don’t forget to prepare for that one question that can make or break your job success: “Do you have any questions for me?” To help you get started, we’ve compiled this list of five questions you should ask at the end of every interview.
1. Is this a New Position? If Not, Why Did the Person Before Me Leave?
It may be an uncomfortable question to ask, but it will help you get a better idea of the company and the job itself, whatever the hiring manager’s response. A new position reflects the company’s growth and success, a recently vacated one can mean that the previous occupier was unhappy with the job, and one that’s been handed down signifies growth opportunities in the organization.
2. How Would You Describe the Company’s Culture?
Simply put, you can’t work somewhere you don’t feel comfortable. You need to feel at home and welcome to grow and thrive as an employee, and asking about the company’s culture will help you determine whether or not the company’s right for you.
Listen to the adjectives the interviewer uses in their answer. Words like “innovative” and “dedicated” are clichÃ© buzzwords that hold no true meaning while words like “transparent,” “fun,” “weird”, and “empathetic” sound a hell of a lot more appealing.
Do they have Bring Your Dog to Work Day? Do they offer a free breakfast bar? Even finding out how often meetings are held may help you ascertain how informed employees are kept and, in turn, how much they are valued and made to feel included in the company.
3. Do You Have Any Hesitations About My Qualifications?
Before you ask this question, make sure you read your environment as it can put unnecessary pressure on the hiring manager or simply put them on the spot. It is, however, a good question to ask as it shows that you are confident enough to discuss your weaknesses and it also provides you with the opportunity to clarify yourself. Moreover, it demonstrates your openness to feedback, a trait that is very much valued by potential employers.
4. What Are the Challenges of this Position?
Every job and workplace have some challenges that employers often don’t want to highlight, especially in an interview with a potentially perfect candidate. However, asking this type of question allows you better understand what you will be facing in this role.
Meanwhile, if the interviewer tells you there aren’t any challenges, it is best to proceed with caution as something is clearly not right here. They might be trying to sugarcoat a stroke-inducing workload, a toxic work environment, or something else equally worrisome; whatever it is, a supposedly challenge-free job is somewhat suspicious.
5. What Are the Next Steps in the Interview Process?
This kind of question works in a way that confirms to the interviewer that you are indeed interested in the job and that you are eager to move forward in the hiring process. It also allows you to get a rough idea when you’re likely to hear back from the hiring manager without sounding too pushy.
Your ultimate goal should be to find out the company’s timeline before exiting the interview room; being equipped with this information will help you determine how and when to follow up, and it will also give you an “expiry date” of such for when you should move on to other opportunities.
Remember that you’re interviewing employers as much as they’re interviewing you, and that the answers you receive to the questions you ask will play a major part in your decision to work for them.
What questions do you ask at the end of every interview? Have those questions helped you bag your dream job? Share your advice and experiences with us in the comments section below!