“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 consider:
Why Is The Position Open?
This is actually an extremely important question that should be asked during every job interview because the answer will provide important insights that, should you get an offer, will play a major role in your decision to take the job.
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 they quit or get fired? Are you replacing a high performer, or a poor one?
The employer's answer will help you determine whether the job has room for growth or a high turnover rate, and give you a better idea of how to manage expectations.
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 email.
How Would You Describe The Company Culture?
It's always good to get a sense of a company's culture and whether you fit into it. The employer's response to this question will help you understand what it's like working there day-to-day, what the company values are, how colleagues interact with one another, and so on.
Another good way to get a sense of company culture is to ask this question:
Can you tell me about one of your most successful employees and what makes them successful?
If the answer includes an employee who takes on a lot of extra work and works way more than 40 hours a week, this could be a red flag where the company's values are only grounded in work. Ultimately, you want an answer where the response includes a combination of hard work, creativity, and character.
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.
What Are The Company's Goals Over The Next Five Years?
Actually, a more specific question you could ask is:
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.
Here's another way to ask this question:
What is the company's biggest challenge in the coming years, and how does this position help you overcome it?
Do You Like Working Here?
It's unlikely the hiring manager will say "no" but you can still infer a lot from their response. A moment's hesitation followed only by, "Yeah...I do," might be a red flag. A smile and explanation of why they like working there, on the other hand, signifies a more genuine response.
A few other ways to ask this question include:
How did you come to work here?
What do you like most about working here?
If you interview with multiple employees during your job interview, ask them each similar questions. This is particularly helpful when it comes to 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.
Need more help preparing for your next job interview?
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.