(I first wrote a version of this post on my original personal blog: Practical Business: When Its Your Turn – Interview Questions for a Possible New Employer)
You know that you are supposed to research the company before the interview. You know that you should ask questions. But for the life of you, you really aren’t sure what to ask because your main question is ‘When can I start?’. Hopefully this list gives you some good ideas of your own because it is always a pet peeve of mine as a hiring manager when a promising candidate doesn’t have any questions for us at that stage of the interview.
So here’s my argument to convince you that it is wise to ask questions – you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. Questions on your part prove that you have thought beyond getting a job, any job, to getting the right job and can picture yourself working at the company. Picture yourself becoming a successful member of their team.
I have put together these questions from various sources, including some that I have been asked by candidates.
Questions to ask at the first interview:
- Is this a new position, or would I be replacing someone?
- Where does this position fit into the company’s structure?
- What is your time frame to fill this position?
What are you looking for in the answers to these questions? You will start to find out about the company culture and with the last one you can start to build a framework for follow up.
Questions to ask during the interview with the hiring manager, pick a handful that apply to your situation:
- What are the qualities of your ideal candidate?
- (If you found out that you are replacing someone in the first interview) What differences/similarities are you looking for in comparison to the previous person?
- What is a typical day like?
- What are the biggest challenges facing this department?
- What are the best qualities of this department?
- How much interdepartmental interaction is there with this position?
- What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?
- What are the common attributes of your top performers?
- What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
- How is performance measured in this organization?
These questions continue in your quest to understand the company culture and how it impacts the department where you would be working. You can start to formulate a picture for yourself whether this culture will suit your ideal environment for your success.
Question to finish up:
- Are there any areas where I haven’t given you enough information?
If this helps you to come up with any questions of your own, I would love to know what they are. Or if you have a favorite question that you like to ask that I haven’t covered here, please share.
Beth Anne Reed has a background in Customer Relations, Process & Project Management and a deep interest in Written Communications.
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