Interviews are often thought of as a one-way stream of communication, where the employer is the sole inquirer. You prepare yourself for all the potential questions the interviewer might ask, but you might forget the questions you should ask to make sure the company is a good fit for you.
It’s important to remember that interviews are, in the end, about forming a mutually beneficial relationship between a potential employee and employer. Interviews aren’t supposed to be an interrogation but rather an opportunity for a conversation. Below are some questions that you should ask during the conversation to make sure the employer is an ideal candidate for you.
What can you tell me about the company’s culture?
This question is key to forging a symbiotic relationship. You want to make sure that their team values align with yours. From asking this question and from walking around the office, you will be able to grasp the personality, expectations and goals of the office. This will help you see if you could be a good fit or if it doesn’t align with your values or character.
What did the last person in this role do well? What did they not do well?
As a newcomer, you might be compared to previous employees who held your position. A good way to stand out is to make sure you exceed expectations and set a new standard. By asking this question, you might gain some insight as to what areas the predecessors excelled and fell short in so that you’re prepared to delve in successfully once you start.
What are the current challenges facing your department?
As a potential employee, you need to know what obstacles you may confront so that you can properly prepare to tackle it. Odds are, one of the priorities of the organization is finding a capable candidate to help ease some of these challenges. Your interview is an opportunity to highlight your problem-solving skills and discuss what you can do to help the organization with such challenges in the future.
What does the career progression look like for someone in this role?
Will you be able to advance and grow from this position? When starting a new job, you want to make sure that you will be able to eventually work your way up the company ladder. Will there be an opportunity to serve in a more managerial position, or as a director or VP? Entry-, mid- and even senior-level positions should have potential opportunities for growth. No matter what role it is, no one wants to find themselves in a dead-end job.
By asking these questions at your next job interview, you will gain a better understanding of the position, the company and its people. It is important to do so, because ultimately, you are also doing the interviewing.