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10 questions to ask when you’re in a job interview

Job interviews are not just about impressing potential employers; they're also opportunities for you to assess if the job and company align with your professional goals and work-life balance.
Photo: Unsplash

Employers and candidates face unique challenges in today’s competitive job market. According to a revealing survey by Glassdoor, 76% of hiring decision-makers pinpoint attracting quality candidates as their top challenge. This statistic underscores a crucial aspect of the job search process: the importance of being an informed, engaged candidate.

As you prepare for your following job interview, remember that your questions can set you apart. In a landscape where 88% of hiring decision-makers agree that an informed candidate is a quality candidate, the correct inquiries can demonstrate your preparedness and suitability for the role. You are not just seeking a job but also assessing whether the company aligns with your values, career goals, and expectations.

The Glassdoor survey highlights that an informed candidate is:

  • Prepared for their interview and asks pertinent questions
  • Demonstrates the right experience
  • Knowledgeable about the job role and the company’s culture and values
  • Has realistic expectations regarding compensation and benefits

This aligns with what employers consider influential in deciding whether a candidate accepts a job offer. Factors like salary, company culture, reputation, interview experience, company mission, and values play a significant role. Therefore, the questions you ask in an interview should aim to extract information about these areas.

Given these insights, the following guide presents ten essential questions you should ask in a job interview. These questions are designed to showcase your preparedness and provide you with critical information about the potential employer, helping you make an informed decision about your career path.

1. Can you describe the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?

Gaining clarity on what your typical day would look like is crucial.

  • It helps you understand if the job matches your skills and interests.
  • Knowing this information beforehand allows you to visualize yourself in the role, which is key in making an informed decision.

“Understanding the day-to-day tasks helps you align your skills and career goals with the job’s requirements.”

2. What are the company’s values and how are they reflected in the workplace?

Company values are the core principles guiding its business and employee relations.

  • This question reveals if the company’s values resonate with your personal beliefs.
  • It also offers insight into the company culture and work environment, helping you evaluate if you’d be a good fit.

“A company’s values often dictate the working environment and how employees are treated.”

3. Can you tell me about the team I will be working with?

Understanding team dynamics is key to assessing how well you’ll integrate.

  • This inquiry gives you a glimpse into the team’s size, structure, and roles.
  • Knowing about your potential colleagues’ backgrounds and skills can help you gauge your ability to collaborate and learn within the team.

“The more you know about the team, the better you can determine your potential role and contribution.”

4. How does the company measure success for this position?

Knowing how success is measured enables you to align your goals with the company’s expectations.

  • It clarifies performance metrics and sets clear targets.
  • This understanding helps you evaluate whether the company’s definition of success aligns with your personal and professional objectives.

“Understanding success metrics helps in setting realistic goals and expectations for your role.”

5. What are the biggest challenges facing the company/department right now?

Learning about current challenges shows your interest in the company’s state and future.

  • It highlights potential areas where you can contribute immediately.
  • Understanding these challenges helps you prepare for the role and shows your initiative to tackle problems.

“Being aware of the company’s challenges allows you to showcase how your skills and experience can be beneficial.”

6. What are the opportunities for professional development?

This question indicates your desire for growth and long-term commitment.

  • It helps you understand the learning and advancement opportunities within the company.
  • Knowing about training programs and career progression paths can be a deciding factor if you’re looking for growth.

“Inquiring about professional development demonstrates your ambition and commitment to personal and professional growth.”

7. How does the company support work-life balance?

Work-life balance is essential for long-term job satisfaction and productivity.

  • This question gives you an idea of the company’s perspective on employee well-being.
  • It also helps you understand if the company’s policies align with your lifestyle and personal commitments.

“A company that values work-life balance is likely to support your overall well-being and job satisfaction.”

8. Can you describe the company’s leadership style and management philosophy?

Knowing the management style helps you anticipate the work environment and leadership interactions.

  • It gives you insights into the decision-making process and hierarchy within the company.
  • Understanding the leadership style helps you assess how well you would adapt and work under the given management.

“An understanding of the leadership style provides a window into the company’s operational dynamics and your potential place within it.”

9. What are the next steps in the interview process?

Asking this shows your eagerness and interest in moving forward.

  • It provides clarity on the timeframe and expectations following the interview.
  • This information helps you plan your follow-ups and prepare for any subsequent rounds of interviews.

“Knowing the next steps in the interview process helps you stay informed and proactive in your job search.”

10. Is there anything about my background or resume that makes you question whether I am a good fit for this role?

This question demonstrates confidence and openness to feedback.

  • It gives you the chance to address any potential concerns or misconceptions.
  • Direct feedback can provide valuable insights into your candidacy and areas for improvement.

“Addressing any hesitations head-on shows your confidence and willingness to engage in open dialogue.”

Conclusion

Asking thoughtful questions in an interview demonstrates your interest and preparation, and gives you essential insights into the role and company. Remember, an interview is a two-way street; it’s as much about finding the right fit for you as it is for the employer. Use these questions as a tool to not only impress your potential employer but also to gather the information necessary to make an informed decision about your career.

As highlighted by the Glassdoor survey, the key to success lies in being an informed candidate. This interviewing approach increases your chances of receiving a job offer and ensures that the job is the right fit for your skills, values, and career goals. By engaging in this level of proactive inquiry, you position yourself as a thoughtful, diligent, and desirable candidate, setting the stage for a fulfilling and mutually beneficial relationship with your future employer.

So, as you prepare for your next interview, arm yourself with these questions. They are your gateway to uncovering valuable insights about your potential role and employer, and they are a critical step in paving the way for a successful and satisfying career.

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