Most job seekers spend a great deal of time preparing for the interview, anticipating how they will answer questions while looking confident and self-assured. But, the process works both ways. Not only is it a chance for a prospective employer to learn more about the interviewee, but it's also an opportunity for you to gain a greater understanding about a job that could potentially be a long term commitment.
Regardless of your thorough research, you will always discover something new by posing thoughtful questions. It will demonstrate that you are curious and sincere about making the best choice for yourself and the hiring company.
Here are a few of my suggestions on questions to ask at a job interview:
- What would you say are the three most important skills required for this position? Their answer will tell you a great deal about what they are expecting from you. Are they hoping to hire someone outgoing who can motivate a team, or a detail-oriented researcher who works independently? You will be able to identify quickly if your skill set is a good match for the role.
- How would you describe the company culture? Listen closely; this will reveal both the interviewer's interpretation of the company's way of doing things and their opinion. If you hear, "It's a loose culture, and we are struggling to get a handle on it," this may signal you've met a frustrated executive. Don't hesitate to ask for more specific details and weigh the response carefully.
- Who will I be working with most closely and what is their management style? Not only will you learn more about your direct supervisor, but you will communicate an interest in getting to know where you may fit in as a team member.
- What would a typical day look like for me? Their response can help you gain key insights, such as the emphasis placed on teamwork and collaboration. Perhaps it's the kind of company where you are required to be at your desk from 9 to 5, but also expected to occasionally travel, work a few late nights or an infrequent weekend.
- How does the company measure progress in the department? You'll get an idea about the expectations your supervisor will have for your work and the criteria by which you will be evaluated. Feel free to inquire about when you can expect a review and the way it will be handled.
- Do you feel my skills and experience align with what you are looking for? By posing this in a friendly, non-aggressive tone of voice you appear self-confident while opening the door for honest feedback. You may also then share additional information beyond your resume that shows you are an ideal candidate for the job.