While job interviews can vary from company to company and position to position, you can almost always count on at least one commonality. At the end of the interview, the hiring manager typically asks, "Do you have any questions for me?" Don't fall into the trap of saying, "No." This is your moment to learn vital information about the company and position yourself as an ideal candidate. Spend time before every interview preparing questions you can ask the interviewer. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. What Can You Tell Me About This Job That Got Left Out of the Job Description?
No job description is full and complete. Asking this question shows that you understand that and want to know the real scoop. If you're lucky, the hiring manager's response can also let you know a little about the personality of the office and the way co-workers get along. Follow this question up by asking what the likelihood is that the job could grow.
2. What's the Biggest Challenge Facing This Workplace?
The answer to this question may let you know about problems with higher-ups, conflicts between team members or unrealistic expectations regarding the workload. Listen carefully to the answer to this question, as it can help you position yourself as the solution to the challenges named.
3. Can You Tell Me About the Last Person Who Was Successful in This Position?
With this question, you can learn what the expectations are and whether you're following a star or a loser. By knowing what an employee has to do to be considered successful in the job you're applying for, you can better understand how the company culture works.
4. How Does Your Training Process Work?
This question lets you learn a little bit about how the company or department handles the inevitable mistakes that a beginner makes. Don't worry that you're pegging yourself as a beginner. You're showing that you want to get up to speed as quickly as possible. If your interviewer responds with something like, "We hope our new hires don't make mistakes," you have a valuable clue as to whether this company supports a productive, welcoming environment for new workers.
5. What Do You Like About Working Here?
Watch your interviewer's body language and listen to her tone of voice as she answers this question. If she has a hard time coming up with an answer, or her answer is vague, keep your ears open for other negatives about the company.
6. Who Will I Be Working With?
The answer to this question lets you know a little bit about how collaborative your new job might be and whether it fits with your own style of work. Learning as much as you can about future co-workers is always recommended, as the people you work with are key to the enjoyment of any job.
7. What's the First Priority for the Person Who Gets This Job?
Learning what the expectations are can be key to your success right out of the gate. It also sets you up well for a second interview. Listen for any warning signs that indicate the company's expectations are unrealistic.
8. What Kind of Team Development Does the Company Do?
This is another way to find out about the collaborative nature of your potential new job. If the company does a lot of team development, the hiring manager is likely to want to brag about it.
9. Do You Have Any Concerns About My Background or Qualifications?
This question invites the job interviewer to be honest. It shows that you're not afraid to hear the answer, which indicates that you're confident in your abilities. If the interviewer's answer is "No," it lets her say it out loud, moving her closer to becoming an advocate for you. If the answer is "Yes," you can learn something valuable for the next interview.
10. What Are the Next Steps?
Ask this question for your own peace of mind. If you know in advance that no decision is being made for a couple of weeks, you can stop checking your phone and email every 10 minutes. If there's a way you can follow up or prepare for another interview, it's good to know that, too.
When preparing for a job interview, don't spend all your time focusing out how to answer questions. The questions you ask are just as important. Think through how you can best show your ability to fit the position as you prepare the best possible set of questions for your interviewer.
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