Originally published at http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2016/01/29/the-29-smartest-questions-to-ask-at-the-end-of-every-job-intervi/.
It’s important to remember that every interview is a two-way street. You should be interviewing the employer just as much as they’re interviewing you because you both need to walk away convinced that the job would be a great fit.
So when the tables are turned and the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” take advantage of this opportunity. It’s the best way to determine if you’d be happy working for this employer, and whether your goals are aligned with theirs.
“The very process of asking questions completely changes the dynamic of the interview and the hiring manager’s perception of you,” says Teri Hockett, chief executive of What’s For Work?, a career site for women. “Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to discover details that you might not have otherwise unveiled.”
Amy Hoover, president of TalentZoo, says there’s another reason you should always prepare questions. “It’s expected – and if you don’t ask at least two questions, you will appear disinterested, or worse, less intelligent and engaged than a prospective employer would like.” You should have at least four questions prepared, though, in case your original two are answered through the course of the interview.
But, Hoover says, don’t just ask questions for the sake of it. To actually benefit from them, you’ll need to think carefully about what you want to ask.
“Your questions can, in fact, make or break an interview,” she explains. “If they’re not thoughtful, or if you ask something that has already been addressed, this can hurt you way more than it can help. Asking smart, engaging questions is imperative.”
Luckily, there are plenty of smart ones to pick from.
Here are 29 questions you should always ask in a job interview – if they weren’t already answered – to help you get a better sense of the role and the company, and to leave the interview with a positive, lasting impression:
Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare?
Hoover recommends this question because it’s a quick way to figure out whether your skills align with what the company is currently looking for. If they don’t match up, then you know to walk away instead of wasting time pursuing the wrong position for yourself, she says.
Who would I be reporting to? Are those three people on the same team or on different teams? What’s the pecking order?
How has this position evolved?
How would you describe the company’s culture?
Hoover says this question gives you a broad view on the corporate philosophy of a company and on whether it prioritizes employee happiness.
Who do you consider your major competitors? How are you better?
Beyond the hard skills required to successfully perform this job, what soft skills would serve the company and position best?
Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
While this question puts you in a vulnerable position, it shows that you are confident enough to openly bring up and discuss your weaknesses with your potential employer.
What do you like most about working for this company?
Can you give me example of how I would collaborate with my manager?
Can you tell me what steps need to be completed before your company can generate an offer?
“Any opportunity to learn the timeline for a hire is crucial information for you,” Hoover advises. Asking about an “offer” rather than a “decision” will give you a better sense of the timeline because “decision” is a broad term, while an “offer” refers to the point when they’re ready to hand over the contract.
How would you score the company on living up to its core values? What’s the one thing you’re working to improve on?
What are the challenges of this position?
What have past employees done to succeed in this position?
The main point of this question is to get your interviewer to reveal how the company measures success.
If you were to hire me, what might I expect in a typical day?
What type of employee tends to succeed here? What qualities are the most important for doing well and advancing at the firm?
Is there anyone else I need to meet with?/Is there anyone else you would like me to meet with?
How do you help your team grow professionally?
Harrison says this question shows that you’re willing to work hard to ensure that you grow along with your company. This is particularly important for hourly workers, he says, because they typically have a higher turnover rate, and are thus always looking for people who are thinking long-term.
When your staff comes to you with conflicts, how do you respond?
Will I have an opportunity to meet those who would be part of my staff/my manager during the interview process?
How do you evaluate success here?
What are some of the problems your company faces right now? And what is your department doing to solve them?
Asking about problems within a company gets the “conversation ball” rolling, and your interviewer will surely have an opinion, Oliver writes. Further, she says their answers will give you insights into their personality and ambitions and will likely lead to other questions.
What’s your timeline for making a decision, and when can I expect to hear back from you?
“Knowing a company’s timeline should be your ultimate goal during an interview process after determining your fit for the position and whether you like the company’s culture,” Hoover says. It will help you determine how and when to follow up, and how long to wait before “moving on.”
Is this a new position? If not, why did the person before me leave this role?
This might be uncomfortable to ask, but Harrison says it’s not uncommon to ask and that it shows you are being smart and analytical by wanting to know why someone may have been unhappy in this role previously. If you found out they left the role because they were promoted, that’s also useful information.
Where do you see the company in three years and how would the person in this role contribute to this vision?
Asking this question will show your interviewer that you can think big picture, that you’re wanting to stay with the company long-term, and that you want to make a lasting impression in whatever company you end up in, says Harrison.
I read X about your CEO in Y magazine. Can you tell me more about this?
Oliver says questions like this simply show you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in the company and its leaders.
How do you handle new business pitches? Who gets involved in generating new business at this company? Is there a team in place, and do they cull employees from different teams depending on the business that your firm is going after?
What’s your staff turnover rate and what are you doing to reduce it?
Is there anything else I can provide to help you make your decision?
This simple question is polite to ask and it can give you peace of mind to know that you’ve covered all your bases, Hoover says. “It shows enthusiasm and eagerness but with polish.”
Is there anything we haven’t covered that you think is important to know about working here?
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Do your interview skills pass the test? Do you need some assistance in improving your interview persona or crafting your interview questions? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. If you are interested in learning more about finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are interested in attorney or other roles in the legal industry, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.