You’ve just come to the end of what felt like a great interview. You were on form, and you know it. Except there’s just one more question left…
Do you have any questions?
If you thought this question didn’t matter, it does. In an interview, every question is important, because everything you say ( Or don’t say) can tell the interviewer something about you. But more importantly, this is a great opportunity to really get to know the company and what it would be like to work there.
So, if you find yourself stuck for questions because they just answered all of the questions you had planned to ask, here are 10 more questions you can ask that will help you to stand out from the crowd, as well as give you some really great insights into the company.
1. Why did you join this company, and what do you most enjoy about working here?
Finding out why the interviewer joined can be really valuable. Regardless of who they are, whether it’s the hiring manager, a member of HR, or another person with the business, the answer to this question can help you to glean some insights into what type of company this is ( or how it’s perceived to be) as well as what sort of person they are.
When people answer questions that are personal to them, their non-verbal communication will speak volumes. Do they perk up, and look bright and happy at the memory of joining, or do they look like things haven’t quite turned out how they’d thought? Either way, make sure you pay attention to their body language and facial expressions as much as the words they say, maybe even more.
2. What have you found most challenging about working here?
No one’s perfect, and companies are no different. Even though no one likes to talk about the negatives or challenges in an interview, it’s in your interest to find these out. If you’re going to consider taking a job somewhere, you need to know the reality of the situation.
There’s no point in joining a company where every decision needs to go through board approval if you’re leaving your current job because you can’t make any decisions!
3. What does it take to succeed in this company?
Clearly, whatever the characteristics of the most successful people, you’ll need to feel that this is aligned with who you are and how you like to work. Are they extremely innovative, always coming up with new ideas? Do they thrive in an ever-changing environment, or do they have a fiercely competitive streak?
Whatever it takes to succeed, if it’s definitely not you, then it’s something to think about.
4. How would you describe the leadership here?
The leadership of an organization is critical and will have an impact on so many factors, including engagement and morale, to name a few.
You might think this isn’t a worthwhile question; after all, who’s going to speak ill of the leadership in an interview scenario?
Even though the answer to this question is likely to be a positive one, the specific details can still be invaluable. For example, they may tell you that things are fairly non-hierarchical, open door, or that staff can speak their mind freely.
And if they say very little, sometimes it’s all you need.
5. How does the company plan to tackle x challenge
You’ve prepared for the interview. Now, put your hard work to good use! Asking this question shows that your research involved more than a cursory look at the website and demonstrates your deeper interest in the company, and your commerciality.
And don’t be afraid to make them sweat it! After all, it’s your career and your future at stake.
6. What is your policy on working from home?
While asking if the company has a work-from-home policy is a great question, companies can say they are flexible and have a WFH policy, but what the policy states and what actually happens in practice can be two different things. So, ask how it actually works in the team you’ll be joining.
7. What do you wish you knew before you started?
This question may be a little cheeky, but it’s another great question for finding out what really awaits you if you accept that job offer. You could also ask, have there been any surprises since you joined?
8. Why has the role become available? / Why did the last person leave, and how long were they with the business?
People leave jobs. That’s a given. But the reasons why people leave jobs are many and varied. If the last person was in the job for a good couple of years, it’s a safe bet that nothing untoward went down, but if they were there for just a month, and the person before them, then you need to understand why.
If you suspect something is up, a follow-up question could be, “What does someone need to be successful in this role?”
You might be thinking, why would they tell you if the situation isn’t a good one. The truth is, you never know how much people are willing to tell unless you ask.
They may have been burned by not being honest in the past. Also, if they do look uncomfortable, then there’s your answer.
9. What opportunities are there for training, development, and progression?
One key factor affecting job satisfaction is the opportunity for development. However long you plan on staying in the role, you’ll get more job satisfaction if you’re challenged and continually learning new things.
10. What’s your management style?
It’s been said a thousand times before that people don’t leave companies; they leave bosses, but while this might not always be the case, there’s no avoiding the fact that your manager will have a significant impact on you. Make sure the way your future boss likes to work is a good fit, or at least be prepared if you need to adapt. ( More on the relationship with your boss here.)
11. What is expected in the first 3 to 6 months?
Companies often ask candidates what they would hope to achieve in the first 90 days, especially if they’re applying for a more senior role.
This question flips that on its head. It’s a powerful question because it will give you true insight into the company’s expectations and gauge what the first 3 to 6 months in the role will be like.
Ultimately, whatever questions you choose to ask, always remember that as daunting as interviews can be, it’s as much a chance for you to find out about them as it is for them to find out about you ( and other such recruiter cliches! )
What questions do you find super useful to ask in an interview? Please share in the comments below!
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