As a former hiring manager, one of my biggest pet peeves was when candidates didn’t have any questions at the end of their interview. This always felt like they didn’t have a lot of interest beyond what was already explained to them. Even after a one-hour conversation, there’s still so much to discuss.
You can come up with a question to ask during the interview, if the interviewer said something you found interesting. It makes the interview feel more like a conversation, which is pleasant for both parties.
But in case nothing comes to your mind, you should prepare a few questions. Better be safe than sorry. Here’s a list of 15 questions you can ask to finish this interview on a high note.
1. What is the typical day-to-day like?
From the job description, you get a good understanding of what the role entails and what the responsibilities are. But what is your day-to-day going to look like? Asking about how a typical day goes is an excellent way for you to get more familiar with the position itself, but also with the company culture (will it be fast-paced, slow-paced, will there be a lot of different things to handle?).
2. What are the challenges of the position?
Interviewers will make the position look very rosy. They might even oversell it. But no role is perfect, so if the interviewer didn’t proactively mention the challenges that come with it, it’s a good question to ask. First for you, because you want to know what’s the real deal, but also for the interviewers as it’ll show that you are considering all the aspects of the role.
3. Can you tell me a bit more about the team I will work with?
You want to know about the people you are going to sit with 5 days a week for a while. The interviewer will tell you about the size of the team and the profile, experience and background of its members, but also about the overall atmosphere and the way they all work together.
4. What are the different teams / departments I would collaborate with?
Another question to ask to better grasp the position you’re interviewing for. In my personal experience collaborating with different teams and departments is very rewarding but can also be challenging: we have different goals, expertise, and way of working. By asking this question you show the interviewer that you are thinking beyond your individual tasks and seeing your work as part of a greater picture which might include various parts of the organisation.
5. What does success look like in this role and in this company?
This coaching question works amazingly in job interviews. Instead of asking “are there any targets?”, ask about how success is measured both in the role and in the organisation. You will get a feel of what is expected of you beyond numbers.
6. What is the training like?
The support you are going to receive to ramp up in your role is very important. With this question, you’ll understand how the company perceives training: is it a formal training lasting more than a few days, with additional support afterwards, or is it more of an informal (less clear) training at your desk? You need to have this information so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
7. What do you expect of a new hire in their first 30, 60 and 90 days?
One of my favourite things to ask people was to prepare a 30-60-90 day plan. This was mostly for leadership positions, but you too can ask this question to the interviewer. How quickly are you expected to perform in your role? Is there a ramp up period past the training? Will you shadow people? Will you have a buddy/go-to person for questions?
8. How would you describe the company culture?
You probably read about it on their website, but asking about company culture directly to the people you’re interviewing with allows you to get their own perspective. It’s particularly important if you are talking to your potential direct manager or your peers. With this question you want to see what’s their approach, what is important to them, and see how they relate to the company’s mission and values (and yours).
9. How would I collaborate with my manager?
The relationship you’ll have with your direct manager will have a huge impact on your overall well-being in the position. You probably already know that anyway: who hasn’t had an amazing manager or a terrible one? This question is better asked to the manager themselves: “how will I collaborate with you?” You want to see if your manager will be set up regular 1:1s or team meetings, or if they’ll support you grow.
10. What is your management style?
The manager will tell you about the way they see their role and interactions with their employees. With this question you want to understand if the type of manager you want for yourself is the type of manager they are: are they giving you room to grow or are they hands-on? Are they supportive or not very present? Are they focused on data and numbers, or more on relationship building and trust? None of these answers are right or wrong. Depending on the role and the industry you work for, they might be very different. It’s important though that you work with someone who can provide you with what you need to be successful.
11. How are employees growing in the company?
Past the initial training and the support from your team and manager, you want to understand what the company does to support the continuing learning and development of their employees: are they organising on-going training programs? Are they working with vendors? How big is their employee development team? Would these training sessions be available to you?
12. How has the company impacted your own career/growth?
Another way to see how serious the company is about their employees’ growth is to ask the interviewer how it has impacted their own development. Maybe they were promoted internally, or they learned new skills. Get them to talk about their personal experience working for the company and see if this is a story you find inspiring.
13. What is the company’s growth strategy?
With this question you will show your interest in the company’s growth. Are they going to launch any new products or services? What is the growth of the company and how are they achieving it? What do they prioritise? How do they stay on top of competition?
14. What makes people stay?
This question is very straight-forward: what are the employees most passionate about in this company? Are they staying because the benefits and compensation are amazing, or because there are many growth opportunities, or maybe because the atmosphere is positive and empowering? Ask this question to see what current employees are happy about.
15. Is there anything about my background and experience you would need me to clarify?
If you feel like there might have been questions you didn’t answer very clearly or some areas that you wished you had talked about, you can also ask the interviewer if there’s anything they would want more clarity on. Now, if I were asked this by a candidate, I would probably answer with the same question: “is there anything about your background and experience you would want to clarify?” Be ready for this 😉
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