Whether you’re new to interviewing or a seasoned pro looking for a career transition, there’s one consistently tricky interview element with which everyone struggles: the candidate questions. Leaving an interview without asking any questions has two downfalls: 1) you will appear disinterested in the job and 2) you will not get the best representation of whether or not the job is a good fit for you.
Your questions should give you real insight into the company, its employees, or both. This isn’t an opportunity to show off your question-preparing skills, it’s a chance to dig deep, demonstrate your interest, and help determine whether this is truly a good fit! These are our top suggestions:
“What do your most successful new hires do in their first week/month/year?”
This is a question that helps you to hit the ground running, successfully. It’s an “if I knew then what I know now” question, designed to help you bypass the mistakes others have made. It’s also a good way to demonstrate to a potential employer that you’re willing to walk in the path of other superstar employees, and that you realize there are right and wrong turns.
“How do you provide feedback to new hires during their on-ramp period?”
This is a question that will help you to elicit feedback from your new employer, because it shows that you want that feedback. Additionally, you’ll be able to ascertain the names and ranks of everyone who will be evaluating you, which is important information as you’re learning your new job.
“What are the biggest risks that you anticipate will come with this role?”
This is your chance to gauge the real risks that come with this position. Perhaps more importantly: you’ll quickly be able to determine whether these folks are transparent about their weaknesses. If they are, massive points in their favor! If you can’t get a reasonable answer here, ask follow-up questions. This is information that you need in order to make a good decision.
“Why did you decide to work here?”
This question redirects the attention to your interviewer, which is a terrific technique that will help your panel (or a solo interviewer) to remember you. It gives you amazing insight into a successful employee’s thought process, but it also gets your interviewer out of sync and forces the conversation into more natural territory. This is a can’t-miss question.
“Tell me about what helps to motivate you here, as a seasoned employee? What do you like the most?”
Same line of questioning as the previous question, but with a bit more probing. Stay loose here, so that you can follow up with additional questions when necessary. Keep things conversational and ask about training opportunities, incentive programs, and feedback. Talk about the management characteristics you think are most important, and ask your interviewer what she thinks. You’ll build cameraderie, learn a lot, and solidify your position as a memorable interview.
The candidate question segment is where you have, for just a few moments, the power in this interview. Use it! Direct the conversation as you’d like to, catch your interviewer off-guard, and learn as much as you can.
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