The job interview is coming to a close, and the interviewer puts down his pen, looks at you and asks, “Is there anything you want to ask me now?” This part of the interview is as important as the portion devoted to you answering his questions. Up to this point, it’s been a one-sided interview with you focusing on giving your best answers. Now it’s your turn to find out some things about his company.
The questions you ask may verify that you are a qualified candidate while giving you an opportunity to determine if this is the right job and organization for your career plans.
There are many questions you might have for the interviewer, but there are three that will give you the insight into the position and company that can help you find out if this is a good match for you:
“What will be my biggest challenge if I’m chosen for this position?”
It’s time for you to find out if the job sounds exciting enough, or if the problems seem excessive or beyond solutions. But it also gives you an opportunity to ask a follow-up question like “Would I be in a position to help you with this challenge?” The first question gives you an idea of what you might be walking into; the follow-up lets the interviewer know you are already thinking about how you could help the company.
“Why is there an opening for this position?”
If the employer is reluctant to talk about a previous employee, you’ll have to respect his discretion. But it is important to know about the turnover for the position. If it’s high, try to find out why—is it because employees have been promoted, or were they let go for not being a good fit? If they weren’t a good fit, ask what they were missing and how you could be successful.
If this is a new position, ask what their goals are for it and what problems it may solve.
“What have you enjoyed most about working here?”
You could find out what other employees like about working for the company by asking the interviewers what they enjoy. This allows you to connect on a personal level. Watch their body language—enthusiasm is hard to fake—and notice if there is hesitation or a distressed look after you ask the question. Satisfied employees can come up with several reasons why they enjoy their work. If the interviewer struggles to give you one or two, send up the red flag!
Don’t be afraid to ask.
Remember that an interview goes both ways, and you need to be fully informed so you can make your decision. You don’t have to limit yourself to these three questions, but you should ask them at some point during the interview.
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