The interview is more than just your place to shine and show an employer why you’re a good fit for their organization; it’s also your opportunity to decide if the company is a place you’d like to work. One of the best ways to accomplish both of these goals is to ask the right questions. By doing this, you’re showing enthusiasm for the position and that you’ve diligently prepared for the interview.
Who would you rank as your top competitor?
Don’t just ask this question and leave it there – your goal is to show you have some ideas. Start by saying “based on my evaluations, companies x, y, and z are likely your biggest competitors, but I’d like to know which is the primary and why.” Not only are you showcasing your thoroughness, you’re learning more about the organization.
Why did the person previously in this role leave?
This is important because you can begin to glean information about the culture and potential issues that may have caused this employee to leave. On the flipside, you may learn about an internal promotion that shows you there’s room for growth within the organization. If this is a new position, you can tweak the question to ask how the duties were previously performed to get an idea for the standard and other team members involved with the role.
What are your goals for the position in the first month, three months, six months and year?
By asking this, you can learn the biggest challenge facing you should you accept an offer. You will understand the role and expectations more clearly. The employer will see you as forward-thinking and ready to tackle the necessary projects.
Why do you keep working here?
Learning more about a work environment is as simple as asking a current employee. By knowing what draws them to stay, you can decide if it’s a good cultural fit for you as well.
In some cases, the interviewer will discuss everything and you’ll know this is an excellent place to work. If they will appear less than enthusiastic, maybe it isn’t ideal workplace.
What happens next?
This may be the most important question on your mind, so don’t be afraid to ask! If you’re interested in the position, find out the timeline and next steps. Make sure you leave with a clear understanding of when you should be hearing something and who to follow up with in case of a delay.
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