5 Essential Questions to Ask Your Interviewer

There are many things you should probably never ask at a job interview, like if they have a drug testing policy, do background checks or how many sick days you get.

But there are also some questions that might help you find out a little more about the job you’re applying for and others that might actually help you get the job.

So the next time you’re heading to a job interview, here are five questions you should ask:

1. What’s a Typical Day Like in This Job?

At almost every job interview there is an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions of the hiring board. When they turn to you and ask if you have any questions, the first area that you should ask about is the job itself.

This is important for a number of reasons, including helping you decide if you really want the job in the first place. It may be something completely outside of your interests or skill sets.

Another reason it’s important is that you want to show the hiring committee that you are a serious candidate for the position.

It is a way for you to engage them in talking about the work and what attributes you can bring to the position. And it’s another way to find out a bit more about the responsibilities of this job and if you have to supervise anybody else.

2. What Should I Know About the Company?

The second thing you should ask about is the company to which you are applying. You could start by sharing a little bit about what you know about the company, and then ask the interviewers for more information about the company’s history.

This will show that you have done some homework, but it also shows that you are trying to make a connection with this new organization. And people love to talk about their own work and are usually proud of their company, so the question will feel good.

Hopefully that goodwill will rub off when it comes time for them to make their staffing decision.

3. What is Your Management Style?

This is another important area to focus on when your turn comes to ask questions at a job interview. How the hiring group describes the management style at their organization can tell you a lot about what it might be like to actually work there.

If they talk about command and control — where orders are given from the top, and the foot soldiers follow direction — it might not be the right place for you at this time in your career.

If, however, they tell about how collaborative their workplace is, then it could be a place to work, grow and maybe even have some fun.

It also means that it’s probably a good place for younger workers who want to be able to contribute right away and who don’t want to get stuck in a stodgy or old-fashioned place of work.

In any case you will have much more information about your prospective employer if you ask questions about their management style.

4. Is There Room for Me to Grow Here?

It may sound premature to ask about a promotion before you even get in the door. But questions about promotional opportunities can show your prospective employer that you are a go-getter, someone who wants to get ahead in life.

It can also be practical. If the position you are applying for is a lower or entry-level position, you don’t want to get stuck there for long. You should tell them that you don’t mind paying your dues, but it’s good to know that there is room for growth with them.

At the very least the hiring board’s answers to these questions will clarify the situation for you and will help you make up your mind if they make you an offer at the end of this process.

Even if that doesn’t work out, you have shown them that you have your own goals and ambitions, and they just might consider you for another position later on down the road.

5. When Will I Find Out About the Job?

The final and most practical questions that you can and should ask before you leave the interview room is when you might hear about the results from this staffing process, and if you are successful, when would they like you to start.

That will give you an idea about the time frame for a decision, and if they want somebody right away, then you can plan an orderly exit from your current job and get ready for your new career.

You should also know if there is someone you can follow up with about this job and if they have a post-interview process. If you get the job, congratulations and good luck in your new career.

If not, then a post-interview chat with someone from the hiring board might show where you went wrong in the job interview and point you in the right direction for the future.

Interviews can be nerve wracking, but having a few questions lined up before hand will help you feel more confident. Practice asking them with a friend or family member.

What questions do you think help you in a job interview?

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of Change the Things You Can (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit: Change the Things You Can


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