Preparing for an interview can be stressful and intimidating, especially if it is for a position that you truly care about getting. Most people focus on how to answer questions that are most likely going to be asked, which is a great idea. However, it is equally important to know what questions to ask the interviewer to make sure that you are a good fit for the position and that you will enjoy the work environment in the long run.
How will you define success for this roll?
Knowing how the company will define whether you are successful or not can take a lot of stress off of your plate. Asking this during the interview process is great because it will let you know ahead of time if you are likely to survive and thrive at the company, or if you aren’t going to last long at all.
Where do you see your company in the next 5 years?
Sound familiar? This all too common question that employers ask employees is just as valuable for you as it is for them. Knowing what their plans and goals are will help you realize if this position truly does fit in with your personal and life goals. Don’t be afraid to ask, but if they aren’t sure how to answer, be cautious. This question can also help you better answer their same question for you, if you know where they are going to be in 5 years, you can align your words with their description.
What role does this position play in the success of the company?
Knowing where your position fits into the company should give you some insight into your position and how well you will perform at the company. If the position doesn’t seem to have much weight at the company, be prepared to be put on the backburner and left out. If the position is more vital at the company, be prepared to take on lots of responsibility and accountability.
What kind of personality traits indicate that someone is a great fit around here?
Ask what kind of personalities fit in best with the company. No one really wants to work at a company where they don’t fit it, so its best to know ahead of time.
What do you enjoy most about working for this company?
This question can give you insight into some of the intangibles or subtleties about the company that you may not have been aware of. Asking this will also give you some insight into your interviewer and what they like, which may help lead to some friendly talk in the interview, which is always a plus.
Is there opportunity for growth?
No one wants a dead end position, so you better find out if that is what you are getting yourself into. If the position has no room for growth, you likely want to start asking why and why not. If the answers scare you, it may be time to politely excuse yourself from the interview.
What are your company’s biggest challenges?
Asking this question shows the interviewer that you are interested in the company and shows that you are ready to help. In addition to that, knowing this can help you identify and inefficiencies in the company, and if you can help solve those, you have something powerful to talk about with the interviewer.
Why is this position vacant?
It is always wise to ask why the position is not currently filled. Knowing how the previous person was let go can give you insight into what things the company will not tolerate in the position. It can also give you some insight into the sanity of the company, if they have a high turnover rate or have fired people for some ridiculous reasons, you may want to continue your job hunt elsewhere.
Where are the successful people who used to hold this position now?
Knowing where the people who you used to hold the position you are seeking is great insight into where you may be headed if you get this position. If they all got fired, you know what is likely in store for you. If many of them have advanced through the company or moved on to other companies with equal or better roles, that is a healthy sign.
Do you see any reasons why I wouldn’t be fully qualified for this position?
Ask direct, ask bluntly. This question will probably throw off your interviewer a bit, but you are well within reason to ask this question. If this interview doesn’t work out, at least you will know what you need to get the position you are going for, at the next place. If you do end up getting hired or considered, you know what you need to take care of right away.
(Bonus) What is the typical process for someone in this role?
Asking what the job will be like often gets you a response that is far off from the reality of the position, that is why I like to hone in and ask what the process will be like. This forces the interviewer to give you a better idea of how they are used to the job being performed, and thus, will better answer your question of what your actual role at the company will be. If you are filling a new position, ask what they think your process will be. This can help set a more realistic idea of what can be done in a day if they are way overboard, or you can give them some insight into why you think a different process would be better, which will usually impress them.
What are your favorite questions to ask during an interview? Post yours in the comments to get the conversation started.