An important part of the interview preparation process is developing intelligent questions to ask the interview team. I can’t tell you how many times at the end of an interview, when we ask the candidate if he or she has any questions, the answer is “no.” How is it that you don’t have one question to ask? It could be about the company, the culture, the work environment, etc.
It is a major red flag if you don’t ask questions. And this one is so easy to prepare for. You can even use similar questions for each interview you go on. Write down 5-10 questions to bring with you to the interview. That way, you will have extras if one or a few of your questions are already answered within the process.
Here are sample questions you can choose based on your particular interest areas:
- Why is this position open? Is it a new role or a replacement role?
- What is turnover like in this department and in the company as a whole? When people leave, what are the main reasons?
- How would you describe your management style?
- How does the company support ongoing learning and development?
- What makes someone successful in this role? If someone was previously not successful, what were the missing skills?
- What are your expectations in the first 90 days? 180 days? Year? How will those expectations be measured?
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
- What do you enjoy least about working here?
- Describe the company culture.
- How long have you worked here?
- What are the top three challenges in this role?
- What keeps you up at night?
- What are the growth plans of the company in the next year? Three years? Five years?
- Does the organization have most work processes in place or do they need to be built?
- What is the general preferred method of communication? Meetings, e-mail, conference calls, IM, etc.?
- What is the company’s telecommuting policy? (Only ask if this matters to you.)
- What is the expectation of weekend and after-hours accessibility? Is this an ongoing expectation or dependent on tight deadline, etc.? (Only ask if work/life balance is important to you. Hiring managers who expect long hours may take this as you not willing to commit to the hours needed to get the job done. However, this is an important question so you can better measure if you will have 40 hour work weeks versus 60 hour weeks.)
- How are people rewarded in this organization?
- How do employees typically receive feedback in this organization?
- What are the next steps in the interview process and when can I expect to hear back on those next steps?
The above questions are more general in nature. You can also create more specific questions based on product lines, leadership team, etc. that you have after reviewing the company website. It’s also a bonus if you know someone who works for the company you are interviewing with and can get insight from them to focus questions.