3 Key Questions to Ask Prospective Employers In An Interview

You arrive several minutes early in a neatly-pressed business suit, sporting impeccable grooming and a winning smile, toting notes detailing your accomplishments and past experiences, having practiced answering every interview question ever asked. The interview flows along quite smoothly until the tables are turned, and the interviewer says, “Now, what questions do you have for me?”

You shuffle through your notes. The writing blurs as the reality becomes clear –you failed to ready your own set of questions. Gripping the now useless notes, you stumble through an acknowledgment that you have no questions. You don’t need a mirror to confirm that your winning smile has lost its luster. You thank the interviewer for their time and quietly bid farewell. As you leave, your inner voice chastises yourself for not considering that candidate questions are necessary when seeking an executive or leadership role within healthcare.

Interviews should always incorporate a two-way flow of communication. Interviewers expect candidates to be engaged, initiate discussion topics, and most definitely, ask questions. Why? Because they’re looking for proactive leaders who do more than perform well.

While the fear of asking the wrong type of questions or coming across as demanding or picky raises legitimate concerns, candidates should put time and effort into crafting well-thought-out questions that will tactfully explore the position and the company. Stick with inquiries about the job, the team or management, and the culture. Steer clear of questions that seek to pitch the candidate further and impress the interviewer. Instead, use this time to understand what you’d be signing up for if you take this job.

Questions like these will provide the valuable insights you need while simultaneously demonstrating to the interviewer that you are indeed the kind of proactive doer and thinker their team needs.

1. “What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job?”

This question demonstrates that you expect challenges and desire to be prepared to approach them head-on. Job descriptions rarely delve into challenges, so this provides an opportunity to discover information valuable to your decision-making process. For instance, if determining and managing budget factors heavily into this position’s challenging aspects, and dealing with numbers has never been your strong suit, you will appreciate knowing this upfront. If you have prior experience with the stated challenge(s), note that briefly but refrain from turning the situation into a patting-yourself-on-the-back moment.

2. “What does success look like in this position, and how do you measure it?”

Success carries a variety of definitions, so exploring the parameters of success for this particular job will allow the interviewee keen insight into the expectations and nuances that may be undocumented but assumed. Discovering how, or if, and when these expectations are measured will provide glimpses into the leadership and management styles the company utilizes.

3. “How would you describe the culture here? What type of people tend to thrive here, and what type don’t do as well?”

Not all hiring managers indeed have a good grasp of describing the company’s culture. They may have an “It is what it is” mindset, meaning they are accustomed to it and don’t give it much thought. But when asked about candidates who thrive versus those who struggle, those in the hiring seat can often provide a clear picture that will effectively detail the culture. Again, this inquiry will generally provide insight into leadership styles as well.

Candidates should spend as much time preparing their questions for the interviewer as they do preparing their answers to the interviewer’s questions. After all, an interview goes both ways.

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LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.