6 Interview Questions to Ask

John Krautzel
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A job interview should never feel like a one-sided interrogation by a potential employer. You should be asking questions as well. In fact, by asking the right interview questions, you can gain deeper insight about the company and its business, making it easier to determine whether or not the position is right for you.

1. What does a typical day look like in this position?

A job description often gives an overview of job responsibilities, but it does not necessarily help you understand the day-to-day activities. By asking about a typical day, you get an idea of how you will spend the bulk of your time. Look out for red flags; if you get bored easily, a job with a repetitive schedule might not be a good fit.

2. What do you enjoy most about working here?

During a short interview, it can be difficult to understand the company culture. An interview question about the employer's favorite aspects accomplishes two goals: it puts a positive spin on the conversation and gives you an opportunity to create a personal connection. Listen carefully to the answer to find hidden clues. If the employer hesitates or lacks enthusiasm, it can indicate buried animosity or a weak culture.

3. What level of oversight does the position have?

This interview question helps you understand the company's workflow and lets you compare it with your own work style. A readily available supervisor with a great deal of oversight can be useful when you are new to an industry. If you are experienced or if you prefer to work independently, however, the same type of boss can make you feel restricted or micromanaged. This question can also initiate a discussion about work styles, office communication and reporting procedures.

4. Based on my application materials, do you have any hesitations about my abilities?

If you have the confidence to ask this interview question, it can give you unparalleled insight. The employer's answer can help identify your weak points as a candidate so that you can make improvements for the next interview. It also gives you a chance to provide additional information to calm the employer's fears. Pay special attention to answers that seem surprising based on your experience; they can indicate that your resume and cover letter are not communicating effectively.

5. Who was previously employed in this position?

Your predecessor — and the circumstances under which he left — can impact your experience in a position. This interview question can help you understand the situation you are walking into. If the employee moved to a new position in the same company, it shows the potential for growth and a positive company relationship. If the employer avoids the question or responds negatively, it can indicate that you will need to work harder to gain the trust of the team.

6. What happens next?

The hiring process can be a mystery — often, needlessly so. Asking about the next step lets you know what to expect and communicates your continuing interest to the employer.

Asking questions during a job interview lets the employer know that you are engaged and interested. By choosing interview questions in advance and adapting them on the fly, you can gain a greater understanding of the company and leave a lasting impression.

Photo courtesy of Jones MIIss at Flickr.com



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