Gone are the days of the job interview that feels more like an interrogation than a conversation. Job interviews aren’t about answering the questions asked of you with little to no color or interaction. The job interview is a two way street. It’s a conversation, between a candidate and a company, trying to determine if there is a good fit.
Let me say this loud and clear:
You are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you.
I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again. We spend more time at work than we do with our friends and family. Therefore, we need to be darn sure that the job we’re interviewing for and the company we’re interviewing with are really, really good fits for us!
I get it, not every job is your dream job. And not every opportunity is the perfect fit for you. But it needs to serve a purpose or be part of the bigger picture to get you where you want to go! If it doesn’t, then don’t waste your time. I mean this sincerely. Do not take a job or a role that doesn’t fit into you big picture goals, just to get out of a job that you don’t love. Nine times out of ten, it won’t be worth the trouble. I speak from experience.
When you go in for an interview, I recommend having at least 10 questions prepared to ask about the role, the company, the hiring manager, your peers, and the opportunity. I recommend 10, because a few of your questions are likely to be answered during the interview. And it is okay to ask your prepared questions throughout
When the conversation comes back to you, and you’re asked “what questions can I answer for you?” it’s important that you still have a few questions left to ask. One, it shows that you’re interested and putting a lot of thought into your next role. Two, it shows that you’re not willing to take just any offer. Those are two really important factors when you’re interviewing for new roles.
What kind of questions should you be be asking?
It will differ from role to role and industry to industry, but overall, the questions should be around your work, your work environment, and any outstanding questions you have about the company. The goal is to have enough information to make a thoughtful, well-prepared, and educated decision.
I don’t mean questions about benefits, salary, work hours, or other details about the job – I mean real questions that help you pull back the curtain on what life really looks like at this company.
Here is a list of questions that I suggest, that can be tailored to your world specifically:
- What is your favorite thing about working here?
- Why is this role available? Did someone leave or get promoted?
- What is the most important attribute for someone in this role?
- What is the biggest challenge people in this role face?
- What kind of training and development is available at this company?
- What are the opportunities for advancement in this role?
- What is the average tenure of someone in this role?
- How would you describe the culture here?
- Who would I be reporting to? What is that person’s role?
- What is your hiring process for this role? What is the timeline for you to make a change?
These are just examples and are by no means written in stone! For instance, if you can find out who the hiring manager is online, I suggest you do that, versus ask the question during the interview. It will show that you did your homework.
The biggest thing that I stress here is to be sure you’re having a conversation with the interviewer and that you’re checking the boxes on your end as well. It’s even more critical when you’re weighing multiple offers or opportunities.