by Jay Markunas
A friend of mine is interviewing for a new position. She’s very excited, and she wanted to know: “What are good questions to ask during the interviews?”
That’s an excellent question, because when Recruiters were surveyed they said the #1 reason for not getting the job is because the candidate did not ask questions during the interview! Asking questions back to the interviewer shows interest in the job, and always remember the interview is a two-way street. You are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you.
In the Get Hired module of The Job Search Boot Camp course, we discuss all the strategies to help nail the interview and get the job.
So what are some good questions to ask? Ask questions which relate to the job that you need to know to be successful. A basic question could be “What are the day-to-day responsibilities I’ll be assigned?” There’s no better way to know what you’ll be doing than asking directly.
Listen to the needs of the hiring manager. Ask : “what are YOUR major concerns that need to be immediately addressed if I take this job?”. A question like this would help you understand the direct needs of the hiring manager — instead of simply the needs of the company (which may or may not be different). If you can, follow up this question with how your skills & abilities might tackle some (but not all) of those major concerns.
Of course, you should ask about the culture of the company and the team you’ll be joining. How does the manager celebrate “wins” on the team? Not necessarily a monetary award, but maybe the group or individuals get recognized at company events or in the newsletter.
A more personal question like “How would YOU describe the experience of working here?” would give you some insight what the interviewer’s perspective of the culture. And one of my favorites is “What are some misconceptions people have about the company?” That is a powerful question which can tell you what people perceive “on the outside” rather than what the employees experience “on the inside”.
What about things you should not ask? Don’t ask about salary. At least not initially. The saying “the first to mention salary loses” is accurate. It’s best to let salary discussions come up later in the last set of interviews.
Generally the Hiring Manager is trying to answer 3 (and only three) questions:
1. Do I like this person?
2. Can they do the job?
3. Will they fit in here?
Interviews will help you determine if there is a fit. So ask these questions back to yourself – Will I like this boss? Can I do the job here? Will I fit in here? You’ve found a winner if you answer “yes” to all those questions.