Questions to Ask in an Interview

When interviewing for a position, you should expect the manager to ask you the usual questions about why you’d be a good fit. And typically, toward the end of the interview, they may ask, “What additional questions do you have for me?”

This is your chance to shine. Candidates that come prepared with questions for the interviewer are more likely to be remembered and even hired. These questions shouldn’t be surface-level. You want to dig deeper and ask things that aren’t on the company’s website.

We recommend that candidates prepare at least five questions. Here are some things you can ask in the interview to help secure that new position:

1. What do you enjoy most about working here?

The answer to this question should give you a clearer picture of the company’s culture and values. For example, you might learn about flexibility in work hours, professional development opportunities, special events, or other perks. Bottom line: you want to work somewhere where employee morale is good, and where employees feel valued. If the interviewer has trouble coming up with a solid answer, consider that to be a red flag.

2. For this position, how would you describe a typical workday?

It’s not uncommon for the interviewer to respond with, “Every day is different because things are fast-paced around here.” If that happens, try to redirect with, “If you had to break the duties down into chunks, what duties or responsibilities will take up the most time? What about the opportunity to work on special projects?”

3. How would you describe your leadership style?

If you’re interviewing with the person you’d be directly reporting to, this question is key. Not all personalities mesh well, and the response to this question should help you to better understand if you’d be a good fit. This also gives you a chance to ask about autonomy. For example, “How often do you prefer to meet with your direct reports? What percentage of the work is done solo, versus with others?”

4. What does success look like in this position, within the first six months?

As with any new job, there will be a learning curve. Get a sense of the company’s onboarding process and how much time will be spent training, or shadowing others. If you’re a go-getter with tons of experience and an appetite for a fast-paced working environment, you may realize the company isn’t a great fit if your first 8-12 weeks are spent in training.

If you’re interviewing for a newly created position (meaning nobody has worked in this role before), ask why it was created and what the short-term goals are. If the interviewer can’t give a concrete answer and responds with something like, “We’re not totally sure, we’ll play it by ear,” this might be another red flag. Try to find out what the overall vision is for the new role, and how success will be measured. This is also your chance to find out what type of hard skills or soft skills would be required.

5. What can I expect in terms of the next steps?

This response will help you to get a gauge of the interviewer’s timeline and communication preferences. Some companies tend to move quickly, while others may take several weeks to get back to you about a hiring decision. Having a general idea of the employer’s process can save you from agonizing about whether you should’ve heard back by now, checking your phone every hour, or going down a rabbit hole of self-doubt. For your mental health, ask this question, especially if it’s vacation season and the hiring manager might be leaving the country for three weeks.

Of course, if the interview is coming to a close and there’s something really important stewing in your brain that will make or break your decision, ask it. Maybe you want to know about accessibility – will you be expected to work lots of overtime, or answer your phone over the weekend? Or maybe you saw an article about this company having a particular issue that you want to address. Once you’ve covered the bases about the position, the responsibilities, and the company culture, ask your burning question.

For more ideas about what to ask during an interview, check out this article from Glass Door

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