It’s time for your interview. You’re ready for the open-ended, “Can you tell me about yourself?” and the impossible-to-answer, “What’s your biggest weakness?” But are you prepared to ask questions as well?
The interview process is about determining the right fit for everyone involved. Landing a job that doesn’t match your goals may mean a paycheck now, but can be a mistake in the long-term: slowing career growth, getting stuck in the wrong field, and feeling unhappy. Asking good questions also lets the interviewer know that you’re serious about the job.
Tell the interviewer why you’re interested in the job. Is it to learn something new, improve your skills, or make use of your specific talents? Are you hoping to grow with the company? Ask if the position will meet these goals.
Ask about the work environment, leadership style, corporate culture, and typical workday. One great question is, “Where is the person who held this position previously?” Finding out they were promoted paints a different picture than if they left because of internal differences. Avoid questions that make it all about you, such as, “How much time off will I get?” They do little to showcase your interest in the job.
The first place to check is its website. If there’s a blog, read that, too. Then look for a company profile in a magazine or newspaper. Avoid asking questions that you can easily find answers for with a quick Google search. If you find something that concerns you, ask about it–in a tactful way. For example, instead of bringing up recent layoffs, ask what the interviewer sees for the company in the next five years.
The interviewer won’t be impressed if you immediately turn the tables and aim hardball questions at them. Also, ensure your questions reflect your professionalism. “How is employee success measured?” sends a better message to the interviewer than, “Do you serve free food at company parties?”
Having a list in hand ensures that you don’t forget to ask a key question–and also shows you prepared ahead of time.