I absolutely hate the part of job interviews where the interviewer asks “Do you have any questions?” However I recently learnt that one of the reasons that I got my current role was because I was apparently really eager when it came time for me to ask questions.
Of course I was eager. It was my dream job! But that was what made me realize how important this part of the interview was for a candidate. This is the time to show your interviewer that you are interested in the job as more than just a paycheck. This is also the time for YOU to evaluate whether or not this job is a good fit for you. Here are 7 questions that you should be asking and why.
1) What does a typical day look like?
If you get this job, you want to know beforehand what exactly a day will look like for you? This is especially great if you are speaking to someone who held the role before you. They would be able to advise what your duties are, who you work closely with and why. Their answer will also tell you how they felt about the job. Asking this question shows that you are serious about the role and want to know more.
2) Where is the last person who held this job moving on to?
This is something I picked up from the media buyer I interned under. Asking this question allows you to find out if the person who previously held this role was promoted (yay for internal growth) or if they left the company. If they left the company, you might want to dig deeper and investigate why. Was it just for a higher paycheck or was there more to the story? Is there an issue with staff constantly leaving?
3) What’s your favorite part about working here?
This question is an excellent way to evaluate what type of an environment you are going into. What is the interviewer’s favorite part, if any? It is important that they have something that you too can see as fun or a highlight. If you asked me this back when I was in a toxic workplace, my answer would have been “home-time”. For my Marketing interview, the interviewer seemed genuinely excited about her work and that made me excited about the job.
4) What are the next steps in the interview process?
This is a great question to help you know if you were successful, what would you be doing next. Is it a personality test? A skills test? A group interview? This is also a great way to find out when you will receive feedback on your interview.
5) If you were starting this job now, what advice would you give yourself?
This is another way to show that you are genuinely interested in the role and would like to know how to kick ass at it. People like to give advice to new starts (or atleast nice, helpful people do) so this is also a good way to build rapport with your interviewer. Again, be sure to evaluate the answers so that you know if this role is for you. I once had an interview where the interviewer told me that lunch breaks were often sacrificed for deadlines. What they didn’t mention was that the team NEVER took a lunch break (they ate at odd hours and they ate at their desks) and those who did take lunch away from their desks were looked down on. Thankfully, I never got this specific job.
6) What kinds of challenges can I expect in this role?
Again this is more of a “I want to know how to do my best at this job” as opposed to “I want this job because I need money”. Knowing what challenges await you in this role if you are successful allows you to know what to prepare for. Do you need to brush up on your Excel knowledge? Do you need to spend more time working on your presentation skills? Now is the time to find out.
7) What is the company culture like?
THIS! This is a really important question but also it is one that is rarely answered honestly. If you get the chance to walk around or speak to other people in the workplace, this is a good idea. Another idea is to get a glance at the staff if you can. You can clearly see the difference between happy and unhappy staff. Happy staff are bubbly and chatty. Unhappy staff are…not. Keep your eyes open. And if the interviewer comes up with the old “We are like a family” line- RUN!
The most important thing when it comes to asking questions in an interview is that you show a genuine interest for the role and the company as opposed to just being interested in money. Income is important but it’s the actual work that you’re going to be doing everyday and you want to make sure it isn’t something that will make you miserable.