Once you land a job interview, your goal is to impress your future boss enough that he or she will hire you on the spot. If not, a call back is the next best thing. Either way, there are a few standard questions you can expect to answer in any interview — things like “What is one of your biggest strengths and one of your biggest weaknesses?” and “Why do you think you’re right for the job?”
When an interview is winding down, many hiring managers take the opportunity to turn the tables and ask if you have any questions for them. One of the biggest mistakes jobseekers make is just saying no. Not asking any questions is passing up an opportunity to show your interest in the company, and that interest is definitely something every hiring manager is looking for in their ideal candidate.
Before your interview, take some time to come up with a few things you can ask your interviewer. Here are a few examples of smart questions any hiring manager would be happy to answer:
- “What is a typical day like in this position?”
You’ve already read the job description and probably have a general idea of what will be expected of you in the role you’re interviewing for. But the details of what you’ll be doing on a daily basis will help you get to know a little more about the company and how they operate. Not only that, but asking more about the position will send the message that you’re genuinely interested in their criteria and making sure you can meet them.
Just because you landed an interview doesn’t mean the job is the right fit for you. You owe it to yourself and the company to find out if the role is something you’re interested in pursuing. Even if you’re the perfect candidate on paper, you might find that the day-to-day details of a job just don’t fit with your career goals. Your job interview is a two-way street: it’s just as much for you to make sure the role is somewhere you see yourself, so use the opportunity to find out as much about the job and the company as you can.
- “How would you describe your company’s culture?”
It is always helpful to get some background into the company’s organisational and business culture. Is it a place you can see yourself in for the next period of your life? Are there specific things you may need to compromise on? Do the company’s values line up with your own? Every company is different, with colleagues that expect and adhere to different rules. Some companies are a little less flexible when it comes to work/life balance, and expect longer hours, however, they might also give you more freedom to make your own decisions and try new ideas when you are at work. Others may require you to go through a few layers of approval before a project can move forward, but on the other hand, encourage strong teamwork in a sociable, friendly team environment.
This is a question that ensures you get a better understanding of what mentality the business has, and also positively demonstrates to the employer that you are trying to evaluate if your personality will fit in a future environment.
- “How do you evaluate performance?”
Knowing how your boss will be evaluating your performance is valuable information to have before you start a new job. Do they have an objective system in place, or is it more informal and subjective? How a company evaluates its employees can tell you a lot about how organised they are, as well as how much value they place on employee growth and advancement.
By asking this question, you’re also showing the interviewer that you’re interested in performing to the best of your abilities and want to know exactly what will be expected of you. After all, you’re looking for a job that is the right fit, not just any job that is offered to you.
- “What are some of the long-term opportunities for growth here?”
The answer to this question should hopefully give you a better understanding of what to expect in terms of development at the company, what you may learn, what skills you might be able to gain while on the job, and what heights you may be able to reach. If the answer seems vague or not particularly appealing, it will also help you to make a more informed decision about joining a particular company – you may think twice about a company that seems great on the surface, but ultimately won’t give you the opportunities you are looking for. There is nothing worse than being bored, unchallenged, and unsatisfied in your workplace.
To your interviewer, this question also indicates that you are the type of person who wants to grow, and do well – someone with projection and commitment to self-improvement. Loyal, hardworking employees will always appeal to employers, and in a workforce with increasingly higher turnover rates, it also shows a long-term commitment to the business.
- “Do you have any concerns with me as a candidate so far?”
It’s rare that a hiring manager will find someone who is everything they are looking for to fill a position. Usually it’s a matter of prioritising certain qualifications and judging how well someone will fit into the company. When you ask an interviewer if there is anything about your experience that raises a red flag, you’re asking for a little insight into your value as an employee. There are some things you can’t change, but if the interviewer voices a concern about your lack of experience in a certain area, you might be able to give examples of how you’re a quick learner or draw attention to something else you do happen to excel at.
Even if you don’t get the job, the answer to this question can help you as you continue your job search. Knowing your shortcomings is the first step towards improvement.
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