What questions should I ask when interviewing with co-workers/peers?

posted in: interview | 0

by Jay Markunas

Yesterday we discussed great interview questions the candidate should ask in an interview.  Today we are going to discuss what question you should/could ask your peers/co-workers.

Most candidates feel more comfortable interviewing with those who will be peers or co-workers, because the ultimate decision is not in their hands.  That allows you as a candidate to be more relaxed, but beware of being too relaxed.  You are still in an interview, and you still want to be professional.  There is a story I like to tell about a person interviewing at a large oil company.  They felt so relaxed in the interview that they threw one arm over the back of the chair and literally stretched out comfortably in the interview.  That’s too relaxed!  Relax, but don’t be that relaxed.

When you interview with peers or co-workers, I’d suggest you ask questions about 3 things:

  1. The company/culture.
  2. The manager and his/her style.
  3. How your position can help them.

When asking about the company or the culture, you can go ask “Why did you join the company?” or “What do you like most about working here?”.  You can ask the negatives as well (just be gentle).  You could ask “What would you change about the company/team/group if you could?” or “What should someone take into consideration before they accept a position here?”.

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.

Another great thing about interviewing with peers is that you can ask about the manager and his/her style. For example, you might ask “What is it like to work for <manager’s name>?”/”How do you like working for <manager’s name>?”  You can ask generic questions looking for specific responses.  For example, “I consider myself to be a self-starter, and I don’t need a lot of supervision to do a good job.  Does that work well with <manager’s name>’s style?”  There you are finding out if the manager is a “micro-manager” or not.  You might ask “How does <manager’s name> communicate and track new assignments?”  This way you can get an idea of how the manager assigns work from the employee’s perspective.

How can you help? A great question to ask peers is “How did the previous person in this position work with you?  Did that work well?  Were there any gaps?”   This can help you determine how your new position will work together or interact with their position.  Also, it’s very important that you listen to your future co-workers.  Where do they experience roadblocks or issues?  How might you help them with their pain points?  Listen to those issues, and see how your skills & abilities will compliment and help those co-workers!

Remember to ask about any social items that may be important to you.  Does the team go to lunch together?  Do they have outside activities or events?  Happy hours?

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