5 questions every job seeker should ask during an interview

By Sharlyn Lauby | 

During the hiring process, some interviewers might interpret not asking questions as a sign you’re not interested in the position. And you might assume you can simply ask questions about the job responsibilities. But companies often provide a very thorough explanation of the job up front. In those instances, you should have handy a list of job-related questions. Here are 5 to get you started:

1. “What do you enjoy about your job and the company?” The goal isn’t to ask personal questions, but to find out what the interviewer thinks of the company. You also might ask how long the interviewer has worked there. Experienced interviewers have been asked these questions before and shouldn’t struggle to give you a response.

2. “Why is this position open?” There are two possible answers. 1) It could be a new position. The positive side of a new position is the company could be growing and expanding. The downside is the position might not be well defined because it’s new. 2) The opening could be to replace someone. If so, see if the interviewer will share why. It could be the result of a promotion or a resignation. Ultimately, the goal is to understand about jobs and careers in the company.

3. “How does the organization measure success?” This will tell you what the organization values and how performance is evaluated. Does the interviewer talk about being quick or agile? Does the recruiter share any goals the organization has set? This is also an opportunity to ask how employees are trained and developed. You should understand what’s expected and how you’d be set up for success.

4. “What’s a typical day in this job like?” Many organizations will respond to this question by saying, “There’s no typical day…” If that’s the case, then ask about the biggest challenges facing the position, or time of year that’s the most difficult. This might be a good question to ask each person you interview with to find common themes in their responses.

5. “What’s the best way to follow up?” You’ll want to send a proper thank you after the interview. If the company doesn’t tell you, there’s nothing wrong with asking “Who should I stay in touch with after the interview?” Ask for the interviewer’s business card and find out the best way to contact him or her (phone or email).

Remember the purpose of a job interview.
One more thing about interview questions: Chances are the interviewer will be taking notes during your conversation. Don’t let that intimidate you. In fact, when the recruiter pulls out pen and paper, ask if you can do the same. Just let him or her know you want to make sure you remember some key points of the discussion.

A job interview is a two-way conversation. Unless instructed to do so, don’t feel you have to wait until the end of the interview to ask questions. It’s possible your questions will allow you to get better information, which leads to better decision-making about your next job opportunity.


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