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Questions to ask in an interview

As a candidate, you can prepare for interview questions all day, but you will not know what will be asked until you get to the interview at the end of the day.

However, there is one question that I promise the person interviewing you will ask, – “do you have any questions for me?” And your answer should be “yes!”. Always, always, always ask questions during an interview.

And here is why.

It shows you are interested in the position and excited about the company. It shows that you are organized and how well you would fit in. The questions you ask your potential supervisors can reveal what it’s like to work with them. The employer will think you don’t care if you don’t ask questions. They will think you are just desperate to get a job.

Asking questions is a time to shine and demonstrate the research you did for the interview, hopefully above and beyond reading the job description and having a glance at the website. Look at the news section on the company website or search online for recent news articles and use that as talking points. For example: “I read on the news/your website that your company has invested in X. That’s interesting. Will that have any impact on the department and position I’m applying for”; This is an intelligent-market-related question. Or explore and ask questions about the company’s core values, mission, and vision statement; This shows that you have a genuine interest in joining the team.

Questions show that you are an educated and creditable candidate.

What if you are interviewing a few different people on the same day? Do you still need to ask questions to each person who interviews you? Yes, absolutely. It’s like saying only one person’s opinion of the interview matters. The people interviewing you will come together and discuss what they liked and didn’t like from each candidate. One of the worst things you can say to an interviewer is, “the last person answered all of my questions.”

You should be selling yourself to an employer, and the employer should be selling you on a job. After all, the job-hunting journey is a two-way street. Don’t you want to know what kind of company and position you will be working for? For example, let’s say you ask the company what the career growth opportunities are? And what if the company says there isn’t much room to grow or that they prefer to hire externally versus internally? Do you want to work for them? Is that your career goal to be in the same position for the rest of your life? And maybe it is, then that is great. Good thing you asked that question. But if it’s not, it’s also a good thing you asked that question because you wouldn’t want to waste your time or the company’s time continuing with the hiring process.

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you why asking questions during an interview is good (and practically essential).

Now let’s dig into the types of questions you should ask.

There are three key categories to focus on: job-specific, interviewer specific, and company-specific.

Below are a few examples.

Job-specific:

  • What are the training process and the typical learning curve?
  • What type of review process does the company use?
  • Are there specific metrics or goals that employees are evaluated against?
  • What do you think the biggest challenge will be for the person in this position?
  • What does it take to be successful in this position?

Interviewer-specific:

  • What attributes are you looking for in candidates?
  • How long have you been working for the company?
  • What do you like most about working for the company?
  • What do you like least about working for the company?

Company-specific:

  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • What leadership style does the team respond to best?
  • What struggles has the team had in the past? Tip: when they give you an answer, provide a solution to that)
  • What was the last team-building event?
  • What are some of the long-term goals for the company?
  • Where do you see the company in 10-15 years?
  • How does the company support a learning and growing atmosphere? For example, are employees encouraged and financially supported to go to conferences?

Tip: Do not be afraid to write down a list of questions and bring them to the interview. Also, don’t be afraid to take notes during the interview. It goes back to showing interest in the company and being organized.

Next, let’s discuss the questions you shouldn’t ask and the timing of specific questions. Because yes, it is important.

Naturally, there are questions everyone will want to be answered, such as “what is the vacation policy,” “what does the medical plan look like,” or “is their flexibility with the work hours.” These are valid questions that you need to know, but these types of questions do not say much about your personality or genuine interest in the company you are hoping to join. So, save company policy questions until the end of the interviewing process. In the first and second interviews, you want to focus on asking about the role and how you will contribute to the company and group. You want to seem motivated to come in and quickly get up to speed. So, ask questions that demonstrate this.

Think of it like dating. When you first meet someone, you want to get to know the person first. You are deciding if they are someone you could see yourself with in the future. You wouldn’t want to ask them about their credit score and banking information on the first date. You’d wait until things are more serious about bringing up questions like that.

Whatever questions you decide to ask, the key is to ask something. While the answer to the famous question, “do you have any questions,” may seem like a minor part of the interview, it is not. It is the last impression you will leave, so make it a good impression.

Ask questions.

Contact NimoHR!!

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