When asked if we have any questions during interviews, most of us say no, or at most ask one or two questions. That kind of thinking places more power in the employer’s hand when during the interview, that is not the case.
In as much as you are being interviewed for a position, you also ought to ask questions to know if the company is a right fit or you are better off finding another match.
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Taking the initiative to ask questions lets the interviewer know that you are both interested and came prepared. It shows seriousness on your side and a drive to what to ensure that you too are the right fit for the company. You don’t have to have a plethora of questions; two or three are enough and they ought to be open-ended.
Let’s look at three examples of questions you can ask.
What does a typical day in this role look like?
If the person who is meant to be your immediate boss is there, they will run you through what they expect of you. Listen keenly as it is a snapshot of what your future in the company looks like. There are two ways you can interpret this. You could deduce that this is not the right kind of job for you. The other side is that you could walk away with a sort of cheat sheet to help you maneuver the first few days or weeks at work should you land the job. It also gives you a clear picture of what is expected of you in the long term.
Could you describe the company culture?
Amazon and Google have been on what looks like extreme ends of company cultures. The response to this question will help you know if you will be swimming with sharks or if you are able to assimilate because it suits your values. You don’t have to make your mind up on the spot whether you want to be there or not. Again, listen keenly and take notes if you have to so you can ponder further later. Some cultures promote competition that pushes you to be better, while others might contribute to stagnation. If you’re applying to tech startup companies, you may ask their specific schedule as many tech organizations offer flexible working hours to employees.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the department?
Here, you want to know the state the organization is in should you get that offer letter. Should you get the role, you will know what skills you need to sharpen or acquire, or if you are prepared to handle what’s ahead. It also lets you know what kind of company they are. Are they facing bottlenecks due to bureaucratic issues or are they continually innovating to keep with the dynamin industry they are operating in?
The interviewer’s responses ought to guide you in knowing in advance if you want to work with them or not.