“Do you have any questions for me?” This is typically the final question you will be asked in a job interview. Ask the wrong questions and you might look like a bad fit. Ask no questions and you might look indifferent, inexperienced, or uneducated about the position. Asking the right questions – aside from proving yourself to the hiring manager – is one of your best (and last) chances to determine whether the job and company are a good fit for you.
Here are five questions to get you started:
1. Why is the position vacant?
Jobs open up for a variety of reasons — some positive, some negative. Was the job created because the company is expanding? Was the previous person promoted? Or did he quit or get fired?
The employer’s answer will help you determine whether the job has strong room for growth or a high turnover rate.
2. What is a typical day like for this position?
Most job postings list the position’s responsibilities without saying how much time is allocated to each responsibility. You want to know this information for two reasons.
First, if your typical workday includes spending hours doing something you dislike, you may want to reconsider whether it’s the right job for you.
Second, by discovering which job functions are most important to the employer, you can tailor the remainder of your interview to those areas and include them in your interview follow-up.
3. How would you describe the company culture?
This is one of the single-most important questions to ask. The employer’s response will help you understand what it’s like working there day-to-day, what the company values, how colleagues interact with one another, and so on.
If you’re going to spend the majority of your waking hours on the job, you should make sure the company culture is a good fit.
4. What are the goals of the company over the next five years? How does this position and this department factor into those goals?
This question demonstrates your goal-oriented nature and suggests that you won’t job hop right away.
An informed response will give you insight into the organizational structure and how your position fits into it.
An uninformed response suggests the hiring manager is out of touch with the organization, the organization does a poor job communicating its goals to employees, or the organization is not thinking long-term. None of these are a good sign.
5. Do you like working here?
It’s unlikely the hiring manager will say “No,” but you can still infer a lot from his response.
A moment’s hesitation followed only by, “Uh… yeah… I do” might be a red flag. A smile and explanation of why he likes working there, on the other hand, signifies a more genuine response.
If you interview with multiple employees during your job interview, ask them each similar questions. This is particularly helpful when it comes to the subjective questions (e.g. “How would you describe the company culture?” and “Do you like working here?”).
Doing so will help you paint a more complete picture of the organization, which will help you make the best decision once you’re offered the job.
What are your go-to questions to ask the employer?
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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