Candidate Perspective: Asking the Right Questions

In a previous post, Asking the Right Questions, we discussed how an interviewer can prepare thoughtful questions to determine if a candidate is a good fit for the organization. Candidates are often well prepared to answer these questions and spend a great deal of time preparing answers to potential questions.  However, many candidates overlook the importance of preparing questions for the interviewer. How important is it for candidates to prepare thoughtful questions? What types of questions should be asked?

A recent article from Forbes, The Questions You Should and Shouldn’t Ask in a Job Interview, stated “35% of hiring managers reported that not asking good questions is one of the most detrimental mistakes job candidates make during interviews.”  The article adds that not asking questions could send a message that the candidate is uninterested or lacking confidence.

Some candidates worry that they will appear picky or hard to work with if they ask too many questions.  However, it is important to view interviews as a conversation and not an interrogation. By having questions of your own prepared, you can better assess job expectations and the organization’s culture.  It is not only important that you are good fit for the position but also that the position is a good fit for you. Dinte suggests starting your questions with the following topics:

Show interest in the organization’s culture

Showing an interest in the organization’s culture will demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in the position. You can ask general questions about how the culture is defined or ask more specific questions.  These could include:

  • What does a typical day look like for this position?
  • How do you see this position contributing to the success of the organization?
  • Please characterize the personal attributes which make people successful within the organization’s culture.
  • What do you expect success to look like in 1 year? Two years?
  • How do you see this position fitting into the short-term and long-term goals of the organization?

Show that you’ve done research

Avoid basic questions to which you could have found answers by doing a Google search.  Instead, ask questions about information you found online, comment on recent press releases and news stories, or ask more about the team you will be working with. You can also ask the interviewer to elaborate more on specific tasks listed in the job description or describe examples of projects you will be working on.

Show interest in team dynamics

It is likely that you will be working both directly and indirectly with a large team of various positions and experience.  Show that you are eager to collaborate and work well with the team by asking about team dynamics and communications. How is the business organized? Do some team members need to be trained, promoted, or counseled out? How will this position impact the current team structure?

What other types of questions do you consider when interviewing for a new position?