Interviewers often ask, “Do you have any questions?” Don’t underestimate the power of your response. By making the right inquiries you can 1) improve your chances of landing the job and 2) find out if the position would be a good fit for you.
So, what should you ask? Here are five ideas.
Is there anything that makes you question whether I am a suitable candidate for this role?
This question shows you are interested in, and serious about, the job. You want to know where you fall short and how you might improve. Also, this provides a chance for you to address any concerns you feel are unfair. For example, let’s say the hiring manager doesn’t think you have enough on-the-job experience. You could agree, and then go on to mention how another role, such as volunteering or running your own side business, allowed you to expand your skill set in a less traditional way.
What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
Unfortunately, job descriptions aren’t always accurate. Ask this question to clarify exactly what the position involves. If the interviewer’s description is vague or quite different than you expected, you may decide to look elsewhere. To discover more about the long-term requirements of the role, you could modify the inquiry to “What would you expect me to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/year?”
Who are some of the most successful people at this company? Why are they successful?
Learning about an organization’s culture is important, but also tricky. If you say, “Tell me about your culture,” you’ll probably receive a glowing report. Rewording this question makes it harder to fake. The interviewer will have to give you real life examples rather than best-case scenarios. Use the information to decide how you would fit in.
Who will I be working with? How would you describe their management style?
A bad boss can turn a fantastic job into a miserable experience. Once again, you want to understand the situation you are getting yourself into. Look for signs you and your supervisor may (or may not) be a good match. If you are interviewing with your potential manager, consider a less direct variation such as, “Who was your best boss and why?”
How often and why do people leave this company?
Don’t forget: it’s much easier to turn down a job offer than to resign from the wrong position after a few months. Try to find out as much as possible and be aware of any red flags. High and/or unexplained turnover usually is a bad sign. However, if people leave after several years to advance or to pursue better opportunities, this could be the result of a strong professional development program.
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