A lot of attention is paid to the importance of being prepared for the questions asked of you during a job interview. And for good reason because the way you respond to these questions can make a huge difference in your ability to land the job.
An aspect of the job interview that is not focused on as much is the importance of the applicant asking good questions of the interviewer(s). Most interviewers welcome questions from applicants, but it is important to use the time wisely by asking the right questions. Doing so demonstrates interest and engagement in the position, while also providing an opportunity to determine if the job is a good match for you.
Here are five good questions candidates can ask during a job interview.
Can you give me a better idea of what the job entails and how it fits with the organizational mission?
Drill down a bit deeper to learn more about the job duties, responsibilities, and opportunities.
Undoubtedly, you will already have basic information regarding the job from the announcement and from feedback provided during the interview. However, show genuine interest in the job by asking for more in-depth information. Ask for a description of the daily routine, projects you might be asked to work on, and the people you will be collaborating with.
Can you tell me more about the organization’s culture and what I would need to do to fit in?
This question is very useful because it is important that an organization’s work environment fits your personality, values, and preferences. If you are team-driven, will the organization provide opportunities for collaboration with others? If you prefer to work alone, will you be required to work within a team?
Asking what you would need to do to be successful within the organization shows a bit of humility and flexibility. After all, organizations rarely adapt to the work preferences of job candidates.
What training will be offered as part of the job and will there be any opportunities for professional development?
It is best to frame this question as an attempt to get a better idea of what additional skills you may need to excel at the new job. You can also ask how the job will most likely evolve over the next 5 years and what additional skills will you need to keep pace.
Many organizations take pride in the professional development opportunities offered to staff. If this is important to you, try to learn more about the organization’s commitment to staff development.
Why do you like working for the organization?
It can often be very helpful to build some rapport with the interviewer by asking her what she likes best about the organization. The purpose of the question is not to make the interviewer uncomfortable but, instead, to let he know that you value her opinion and feedback.
However, if the interviewer refuses to answer or tries to change the subject, move on to a different question. In cases like this, the interviewer’s unwillingness to engage may be a red flag regarding the organization or the position.
What is the hiring process from this point on?
Ask for information on the timeline for the hiring decision, whether or not there will be a second interview, how will you be notified of the need for more information or the decision, etc. Again, this question shows a genuine desire to secure the job and commitment to their hiring process. It is also a reasonable attempt on your part to better understand how the process will proceed.
It is never a good idea of bring up salary and benefits until the very end of the job interview if at all. Salary and benefit negotiations are usually conducted during a second interview or at least separately from the initial interview. Although tempting, do not rush into this discussion until the interviewer seems ready and willing to address these issue.
Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with determining if a job and the organization meet your expectations. There is no worse time in discovering that the job and/or organization is not a good fit for you then when you have already committed yourself to it.