If you’re looking for a new position, it’s a good time to brush up on some basics of the interview process. No matter if this is your first time looking for a job or if you’re interviewing at an executive level, there’s value in asking unique questions during an interview to stand out and get the valuable information you need to make a decision.
Here are ten questions that job candidates need to ask in their next interview.
1. Why Did You Decide to Work Here?
This is a good ice breaker and gives you insight into the person interviewing you. Make sure to note details here and use that information later in the interview process — that can be through pointing out connections between you and the interviewer or asking a follow-up question.
Don’t be afraid to repeat this question throughout the hiring process! Each person’s individual answers will bring you different insights into whether or not this organization is the right fit for you.
2. How Do You Develop Employees?
We’re in a very hot job market right now so candidates have more leverage than they might have had in the past. Asking this question will give you a good sense of how your potential employer values their team members.
It also shows an interviewer that you’re looking for a long-term position. You’re investing in the company by accepting the position, so it’s more than fair to ask for a return investment.
If they don’t have an immediate answer to this question, that’s ok — the important thing here is that they’re open to talking through possibilities with you. If they balk at the question or seem uninterested in discussing potential opportunities with you, that could be a red flag.
3. What Will My Working Team Look Like? Can I Meet Those People?
Due to increasing changes in the workplace, you might not be meeting a lot of people while you interview. If the hiring process is only between candidates, the hiring manager, and potentially a direct supervisor, you’re going to miss out on valuable information about what your day-to-day looks like in the role.
Ask to meet with your future team! This will give you a sense of the energy and environment with the people you’ll work most closely with. If you can get a brief interview with them, all the better— you can ask them practical questions about the mundane parts of the role that end up being important.
4. What Are You Not Looking For in a Candidate?
The question ‘What are you looking for?’ can be brushed off with buzzwords and a repeat of the job description. Asking what they aren’t looking for will help reveal the company’s values. The traits you consciously don’t identify with are just as important as the traits that you do claim; this question gets right to the heart of that.
It also can give you an edge in potential interviews. You’ll want to be subtle about this answer influencing your decisions, but you can gain awareness of the skills the organization is looking for while minimizing any areas where you and a less than ideal candidate are similar.
5. What Does Your Diversity Initiative Look Like?
This question might be more or less important depending on your priorities, but it’s still a good one to ask in general. If you’re a minority looking for a sense of community in your workplace, it makes sense to find out the answer to this question.
We’ve shared before that “diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee” — diversity benefits everyone. An up-and-coming organization will have that front of mind, so asking this question can reveal more about their priorities than you might initially think.
6. What Does Conflict Resolution Look Like in This Organization?
Asking this question gives you a jumpstart on understanding team dynamics. Conflict is an inevitable part of any relationship, including relationships in the workplace, but the right organization will have the right tools in place to manage conflict productively.
This question also gives you insight into an organization’s communication preferences. Are issues handled on a wide scale or do departments tend to stick to themselves? Will you be expected to follow a procedure when dealing with conflict or will you be left to your own devices?
7. How is Success Measured in This Role?
This question gives you insight into the expectations of the organization. If you’re a very structured person and need a lot of direction in the workplace, you probably won’t like a vague answer to this question. On the other hand, if you’re more pioneering and free-spirited, you might not thrive under strict performance management. (If you’re interested in learning more about your behavioral type, we have the info you need!)
8. Why Did the Previous Person in This Position Leave This Role?
Asking this particular question can be tricky, but if you stick the landing when you ask it, you can get some crucial insight into the organization and your future within it.
The way your interviewer answers the question is almost as important as the answer itself! Do they brush you off with something non-commital or do they give you an honest answer? You’re gathering valuable information either way.
This can also help you understand potential structural issues within the organization. Remember that those issues don’t need to be a deal-breaker. Every place of work has pros and cons— you just need the right information to make that decision.
9. What Will Success Look Like In This Role a Month From Now?
Asking this question ensures you get off on the right foot if you do get the role. It’s crucial to make an impact as soon as you can as a new hire. You can figure out what that’s going to look like tangibly.
Look for specific KPIs when your potential employer answers this question. If possible, try to relate those processes with demonstrable skills from your own experience later in the interview process.
When you inquire about what success looks like in the near future, it shows you’re already thinking ahead and taking initiative for your future contributions to the team.
10. Do You Have Any Additional Questions or Concerns About Me & My Previous Experience?
This question gives you a chance to tie up loose ends in the interview. You don’t want the interviewer to ever leave a discussion with a pressing question about you besides, “How do we get them on the team?”
This also lets you have the final word in the interview in a deferential way. Ending on a confident note is crucial so your interviewers remember you positively.
The hiring process can be stressful as both a candidate and as an interviewer, but it can also be an insightful learning experience! Use these ten questions to get what you need out of the interview process.
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