Often times the hardest part of an interview is coming up with your own questions for the interviewer. You won’t have time to ask too many, and the ones you do ask need to be both smart in the eyes of the interviewer as well as informative for you.
Fear not, we're here to help. Here are five questions to ask at your next job interview that will teach you about the job itself and make you look good in the process.
What are you hoping this new hire accomplishes?
Any open role has expectations associated with it. It’s your responsibility to figure out what those expectations are. Ask the employer what they are going to be expecting from the person working this position in over time. Not only will this give you an idea of what your life will be like working in this role, but it will also show the employer that you’re carefully considering what your impact could be at their organization.
How do you measure success here?
Similarly, you want to know how you can measure up to those expectations. Some companies are all about the bottom line and others are more open to ideation and risk taking. Once you figure out how they measure performance, you’ll have a better idea of company culture and whether or not the way you work fits into that system. Who will you be working with and reporting to? How will the employer decide if you’re doing a good job? How does the company evaluate its success as a whole?
What do people usually do for lunch?
You may not feel comfortable asking this exact question, but what you want to figure out is what the company culture is like. If you just ask what the company culture is like, you run the risk of getting a brochure answer that sounds great, but may not be true in practice. What people do for lunch isn’t exactly the end-all in deciding whether or not a given company has a positive culture or not, but it could illuminate some things about how colleagues relate to each other and how overworked people are.
Where do you see the company going in the next few years?
This is a very important question to ask. Not only does it show that you care about the progress of the company and are thinking in big picture terms, it also gives you the opportunity to learn about the company’s current situation. If the interviewer answers this vaguely and in very broad terms, then feel free to prod a little bit to get more. It could be a sign that the organization is doing all that it can to stay afloat currently, which may not be a situation you want to jump into as a new hire. Conversely, if the interviewer comes back talking about all the exciting new product updates and growth opportunities they have, you can feel good about joining a company that has a plan, mission, and seems to be on top of their game at the moment.
Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
In the past, a question like this might have seemed inappropriate. Now, though, asking this question towards the end of your interview allows you to address any potential concerns the interviewer may be thinking about. It’s better to get them out in the open then to leave them sitting in the interviewer’s head because they don’t want to disrespect you. You’ll have the opportunity to take hold of the narrative on those perceived concerns and ideally make them feel more comfortable about your candidacy. Their answer also may have the double benefit of revealing where you stand in the list of candidates they are interviewing. You’ll look confident and secure if you’re prepared to address any concerns in a professional and calm manner.