An interview is a coming together of two parties, you (the job seeker) and the company (the potential employer). Both of you need to get an idea, in this interview, of whether or not you’re a perfect match, so to speak. That means you both need to ask questions that will work to figure this out.
About the company
How would you describe the culture of the company?
Company culture is an important aspect of any work environment and is, essentially, the elements that you’ll either love or just be able to tolerate. Asking this question also gives you an idea of how important the employees are to the company and what they do to show their appreciation. As well as giving you insight as to whether employees enjoy working and being part of that culture.
Where would the company like to be in five years?
Generally, you’re applying for a permanent position that may see you in the company’s five-year plan. For you, you need to know if the company indeed has a five-year plan and whether their growth and goals are something that will motivate you to stay or encourage you to cut your losses before they begin.
How does the company measure success?
This not only gives you an idea of whether the company knows how to monitor and manage their success, but it also gives an idea of how your performance and success will be tracked alongside the company’s overall performance.
About the position
What are the day-to-day responsibilities?
If you apply for a job that doesn’t have a job description, you probably should have looked elsewhere. If a company is genuine, they will lay out a job description in the job advertisement and that will give you an idea of what you will be doing. But there generally are other, minute, day-to-day responsibilities that aren’t listed but still expected from you. It would be great for you to know about them before you start the job so you can prepare yourself beforehand.
What are your expectations for this position?
Knowing what your employer expects from you will better your preparation for the job, to make sure you meet all the requirements and don’t disappoint. It will also give you an idea of whether you find those expectations achievable.
What are the top challenges in this department?
This question gives you an opportunity to shine, well, hopefully. If you find out what the challenges are, you may be able to offer your opinion on how you could alleviate or better some of those situations with your unique skillset, qualifications, or super charming personality.
Is there any training provided in this role?
Knowing whether there is training provided or not will make you feel more comfortable about fitting into and succeeding in all your responsibilities. And if there’s no training, then it might motivate you to do some extra research yourself before starting work.
Will there be opportunities to grow in the company?
Your career is an important part of your life because you earn money from it to live the life you want to live. It doesn’t help starting a job to work towards a career if there aren’t any opportunities to grow. If you’re stuck in the same position for two years with no raise or prospecting promotions, it’s not going to be worth your time where another company, right off the bat, wants you to think about where you want to be in the company in five years time, for example.
What is the next phase in the interview process?
This question shows that you are, in fact, still interested in the position after the first interview and want to know when you can expect to hear back and what the next phase will consist of.
By when will you have decided on a candidate?
There are other companies out there and your time is precious. Finding out what the “cut-off” date is will keep you from holding thumbs and missing out on other opportunities. It also gives you the opportunity to be proactive in contacting them to thank them again for the opportunity to meet them a few strategically planned days before they are to announce the result. Keep your name on the tip of their tongues.
Are there any hesitations, on your side, regarding me or my qualifications?
A bold question, no doubt. You open yourself up to criticism, but you also allow yourself the chance to justify yourself and ease their minds about their hesitations, which would otherwise become their, possibly incorrect, assumptions.
What is provided by the company or is a personal expense?
Okay, so this question should be saved for the final phase of interviews. Your first priority is to sell yourself and establish a rapport, and then you can ask the uncomfortable, but important questions.
If your job requires travelling and client/supplier calls, you need to find out if the company will subsidise the costs with a cellphone contract or some type of business car leasing agreement. Otherwise, you need to make sure that your salary is more than sufficient to cover these costs and still leave you with enough for your monthly expenses.
In most interviews, you will ask your questions at the end, but if you read the meeting as dynamic and find any opportunities for feedback or questions relating to current discussions, go for it.