Of course, you came to the interview prepared to answer the hiring manager’s questions. But career experts agree that solid interview preparation involves preparing your own set of mandatory questions.
As executive coach Karen Elizaga explains, “It’s important to think of the interview as a two-way street. You obviously want the job, but you need to make sure that wherever you land, it’s a place you want to be. Just like on a date, you and the employer are checking to see if you share the same interests, if you are a good fit, and if you are compatible in the long run.”
But where to start? With these 6 questions to ask yourself before you leave any interview!
Why is this position available?
You were so happy to see this position available that you probably did not think about why it became vacant. However, “the answer to this question can be revealing,” says Hallie Crawford, career coach. You will need to determine whether the former employee got a promotion, which is a benefit to the company, or whether he or she quit or, more significantly, was laid off.
What are your expectations for the first month, the first 90 days?
Do you want to get off on the right foot right away? As Crawford explains, this question provides a goal to aim for. “Asking what your expectations are for the first month or even the first three months will help you determine what the company expects of you and whether you are on the same page,” he explains, “and how you will be evaluated.”
Where is the company going?
You have already done your research, so you know where the company has been. But “what is not always obvious is where the company is going,” says Elizaga. So be sure to ask questions like, “What innovations are you working on, how do you think your mission will change based on current policies, changes in technology or fashion movements, for example?” says Elizaga. “Questions like this will show that you have done your homework and that you know their work well enough to know where they are relatively in the marketplace.
What’s the company’s process for giving employees feedback?
Elizaga points out that “employers like employees who want to excel, so asking questions about how they see evolution and improvement will make a positive impression.” Why? Because “it will convey your openness and commitment to personal and professional growth,” she explains. So when you ask this question, be sure to explain why you are asking it. For example, “I have found that feedback helps me do the best job possible. What is the company’s process for giving feedback to employees?” explains Elizaga.
What kind of person is most successful in this role?
Thanks to the questions above, you will already know what the company’s goals are for this position and how to find out your level. It is then time to ask yourself which personalities will be successful in this role and in the company, Crawford says. This question will not only help you figure out if you will fit in, but “it will help you decide if you will fit in with the goals they have and the evaluation system they use,” Crawford says.
What has been your experience with the company?
Think about it: was the hiring manager a good fit and did he or she perform at or above expectations? These are questions to save for last, says Elizaga, because “they also give you a chance to rest and find out if the company’s culture matches yours.” Most importantly, by soliciting a person’s opinions and views, he or she will feel observed and leave the interview feeling a personal connection with you.”