048. Asking the (Interviewer) Right Questions
Most people get ready for an interview by going over their previous work experience and job qualifications, but really that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When you start your interview preparations not only should you be preparing answering that showcase your KSAs for questions the interviewer may ask you, but you should be developing your own set of questions to ask the interviewer.
That’s right you should be asking the interviewer questions too! An interview is not just a chance for the hiring official to grill you with questions – it’s also an opportunity for you to determine whether the job is right for you. Think about it, this is far more than just a new job, but the next step on your path to career success.
Because you were selected for an interview, your job application and/or resume has already depicted to your potential employer you meet or exceed the job requirements for the position. The purpose of the interview is for the interviewer to gain more insight into your qualifications, provide you more detailed information about the job, and determine if you are a good fit within the organizational culture and for you to determine if the organization is a good fit for you. The interviewing process is designed to be an open dialogue between the interviewer(s) and you.
Asking the right questions at an interview is vital for two reasons: first, the questions you ask can confirm your qualifications for the job and second, your questions serve as an opportunity to find out if this is an organization where you want to work and grow.
You can learn a lot about a vacant position through the basic application process, but to really get insight into what will be expected of you, you need to make sure you prepare upright questions to ask the interviewer.
Therefore, it's vital you go in the interview with some worthy questions.
Near the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. Always ask at least 2-3 questions, the interviewer has not mentioned already. This stands out to interviewers it shows you are indeed interested in the position, as well as builds rapport and provides clarity.
So when the inevitable question, "Do you have any questions for me?" part of the interview approaches, use this list to make sure you've covered all your bases.
What does a typical workday look like?
Get a handle on precisely what the day-to-day job duties and responsibilities will entail, which allows you to imagine yourself in the position to determine if it is a good fit for you. Additionally, by asking this question to show the interviewer that you do truly have a genuine interest in the position.
Are there any immediate projects that need to be addressed?
Set yourself up for success by discovering up front the primary functions and the goals of the position. This is helpful in identifying your role and job responsibilities you should focus on in the event you accept the position.
What attributes does someone need to have in order to be really successful in this position?
Learn how the organization measures achievements for the position. You also get insight into how your performance and behavior will be evaluated. Not to mention, you’ll learn exactly what actions to take to succeed.
Is this a grant funded or temporary position?
This question is more important for government and nonprofit jobs. In some cases, grant funded position may only be funded for a specific amount of time, typically ranging from 1-5 years. This is helpful to know if there is an expiration date on your employment.
Describe the office culture.
Just as important as the job salary and duties is your potential colleagues. Ask some questions to uncover whether it's the right team for you. The average person spends 8 hours a day at work. That’s one-third of your day! The people you work with on a daily basis can really make or break your work life.
Describe their ideal candidate for the position.
By asking this you can get a good ideal if you fit the description of their ideal person. Also, at this point if the interviewer describes characteristics or job skills that you have but if not mentioned try to work those into the conversation before the interview wraps up.
Are there any special job requirements or work conditions?
There is nothing worse than showing up on your first day on the job and finding out you are now on mandatory overtime for the next six months. Asking about special work conditions should shed light if there is any unusual requirements such as, occasional weekends, excessive travel, heavy lifting, etc.
What are the next steps in the interview process? Can I expect to hear from you?
Leave out the guess work and ask about the interview timeline. This gives you a good time frame to judge if you will be hired, if the deadline passes and you have not heard back from them you can move on.
Before you leave, make sure the interviewer has all of the information he or she needs and that you're clear on the next steps by asking these questions.