Interview Tips: The Best Questions to Ask
Today is the first day of my new job in corporate communications! I am very excited about this new challenge and figured that this post would be very fitting to share today. I have been on over twenty interviews in the two years since I graduated college. Some informational, others on the phone, and a handful in-person. I hope these tips help you land the job that you want!
1. Prepare a list of questions to ask.
If you clicked on this article, chances are you know this already. I think that it doesn't hurt to restate this fact though because it is so important. Preparing questions to ask your potential employer shows them that you care enough about the job and company to learn more about them. Not to mention, you are interviewing the company too! Asking questions will help you determine if the manager, team, role, and company are good fits for you.
2. Is this position new? If not, where Is the last person who had this job?
This question will help you get a sense of job happiness. If the person who had the job before you has stayed with the company, then chances are it is a great place to work, and they promote from within. If not, that shouldn't raise any red flags, but it is good to know.
On the other hand, if the position is new, you might want to follow-up with why the hiring manager found a need for this role. That will help you get a sense of the workload. Be wary if the manager is speaking of a one-time event that is happening in the immediate future as a reason for why they created the role. You might find yourself with a lack of work in the future should you accept this position.
3. What is The office culture like?
After my first two jobs, I learned that I should be asking this question immediately. It is good to get a sense of the culture of your future work environment. If you don't see yourself fitting in or enjoying the particularities of a specific company, don't proceed with future interviews or accept a job offer with the company. Remember that you will be spending forty hours a week in that office, if it doesn't sound like a place where you will grow, thrive, and enjoy, move on!
4. How many people are on the team? Are they all located in-house?
Besides learning about the office culture, it is important to learn about the team that you will be working with. You will be spending forty hours a week with them, so it is crucial to learn how they interact.
The second part of this question, referring to if the team is located in-house, is geared more towards corporate positions. I did not think to ask that question after coming from a smaller digital marketing agency. However, in my second job, my entire team was remote. At times it felt a bit isolating, so it is important to learn about this before you accept a job.
5. What would a typical day be like in this position?
Before accepting a job, you should know what a typical day would be like in the position. After all, it is how you are going to be spending a good chunk of your time. Do the tasks sound like things you will enjoy doing? Will it be challenging for you? Are you excited about the new responsibility? Remember that you are trying to determine if the companies you are interviewing for are a good fit for you too.
6. What does success look like in this role?
I recommend saving this question and the following question for a final interview. That helps you gauge what a potential boss would like to see from someone in the role. It also allows you to see what specific skills the hiring manager references and can enable you to sell yourself further if you possess those skills.
7. What are some of the challenges the person in this role will face?
No job is going to be perfect, and there are going to be aspects of it that you don't particularly enjoy. There will also be challenges. I think challenges in a job is a key essential to daily happiness. Accomplishing difficult tasks can make you feel proud of yourself. It's good to know what some of those challenges might be before starting, to make you feel more at ease in your first few weeks.
8. Ask any specific questions you have regarding the role, responsibilities, management style, office, etc.
It's a good idea to prepare some specific questions about the role, responsibilities, management style, office, company, etc. That way the hiring manager knows that you put some thought into your questions. You'll also be able to learn more about each company that you interview with too. That can help you determine what type of office environment and role you would like to end up in.
9. What are the next steps?
I always, always, always ask this question at the end of every interview. It is helpful on so many levels. You'll be able to learn what to expect next in the interview process and when you should hear back, and that can translate into when you should follow-up. Many times, hiring managers are so busy that sometimes the date they said they would get back to you passes them by, and thus you don't hear anything. Not to worry, I would suggest giving them 2-3 days beyond when they said they would get back to you and shoot them a quick email.
Good luck interviewing! Don't forget that you are trying to find the right company for you. Ask the questions that you think will help you determine if the role is the best one for you.