The entire hiring process is question-driven. The employer asks himself exactly who he is looking for, what roles this person needs to fill, what the compensation should be and what the ultimate goals are for the position. Then, of course, there are all of the interview questions the employer will have for you. You will undoubtedly have many questions for the prospective employer, too. Some questions you will ask to show forethought and interest during the interview process, and some will be to gain valuable knowledge so you can make sound, informed decisions about whether this is the job for you. Here are some great questions for you to ask throughout the hiring process, especially before making any decisions to accept that job offer.
Before the Interview Before you even come in for the interview, ask with whom you will be interviewing. This will let you know with whom you will be interacting so you can prepare accordingly. Ask what in particular about your skill set and/or experience fits well with the job requirements. This will tell you two things specifically. First, if there is a vague answer, you know they are just looking for a warm body, so you may not be too interested in this position after all. Second, if you do get a specific answer, you’ll already know some of what the company finds valuable and you can build on that more in the interview.
During the Interview
Once you are in your interview, ask questions like these:
- What are the short term and long term goals for this position and how will my performance be measured? Their answer tells you whether they consider this a long term position, and how you will be evaluated. You will be better able to assess an offer if you understand the scope of the position.
- Why is this position currently open? If the previous person got promoted, that’s good news for you; this position is a stepping stone on the path to advancement. This question can also unveil changes to organizational structure or changes in operational strategy.
- With whom will I be working on a daily basis, and to whom will I directly report? You need to understand where you will fit in to the overall mix and reporting structure.
- What are some of the biggest challenges the person in this position will face? An honest person will lay some difficulties out for you, because every position has them. Take the challenges described and offer, if appropriate, some response as to how you can and will handle each. If the interviewer does not offer any challenges, be cautious. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Do you have any doubts about my ability to perform well in this position? If they have some concerns, this is a great way to uncover them, and address them. It’s better to have the opportunity to explain further why you are a great fit for this job than to leave any doubts with the interviewer.
- When do you anticipate making a hiring decision? How would you like me to follow up with you? This lets you know precisely what your next steps should be and when you should make them.
After the Interview
If you do not get the offer you were hoping for, a good question for after the interview is, “What tips do you have to improve my interviewing skills?” Thank him for his guidance, time, and generosity.
Well thought out questions lead to active dialogue during interviews, allowing you to be as informed as possible about all the position entails and what will be expected of you. This way, you can make an informed decision regarding if the job offer is aligned to your needs and career goals.
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