Every interview is a two-way street. For most of the interview, the employer will be asking you questions, but, toward the end of an interview, employers turn the table and ask candidates if they have any questions about the organization or the job. Surprisingly, many candidates decline, saying that all their questions have been answered, but they are losing a golden opportunity to make a good impression.
When you ask thoughtful questions, you show the employer that you prepared in advance, adequately researched the company, are keen on the position and are confident that you are the right fit.
The very process of asking the right questions completely changes the dynamic of the interview process and the recruiter’s perception of you. But don’t just randomly ask questions. Avoid seeking information about the company that can be easily found on the internet or, worse, could reveal your ignorance.
Here are five smart questions to ask at the interview table.
1. “If hired, what will it take to succeed in this position?”
This question gives you the opportunity to learn about the dynamics of a company’s culture and see how it fits your personality. Every organization is different, and so are the qualities of their key performers. Learning what attributes are vital for a position can help you get an idea of the work environment that you could be entering.
2. “Is this a new position or would I be replacing someone?”
Every position that opens up comes with a past attached. Did the previous staff member quit, or was he or she let go or promoted? If it’s a new role, was it created out of an expansion at the company, or a consolidation of roles?
If the answer is because the company is growing or because of a promotion, great. If the company promoted the previous employee, then you can ask what made him or her successful in the position and learn from that experience.
3. “How is the company culture, how will performance be measured?”
It’s perfectly alright to want to know how the company would measure your success if hired. This information gives you the ability ahead of time to find how you can help accomplish the company’s goals in your position.
If you join the company, you want to deliver real results and also ensure your commitment and work are recognized and rewarded. You want to know that your efforts will be fairly measured and appreciated. Now is the time to find out what systems the company has in place to track performance.
4. “Where do you see the business in five years’ time?”
Smart candidates know that helping the company succeed means they succeed as well. This question not only shows that you’re taking a strategic view of the company, but it also enables you to take the initiative on the “Where do you see yourself after five years?” question. This question will also help your interviewer get past what you look like on paper and focus on you as a person. Directing the conversation toward your amazing personality will help them see what characteristics you would bring to a position.
5. “If hired, what would you expect me to accomplish in the first 90 days?”
Smart candidates want to hit the ground running. They don’t want to spend months getting to know the organization. They want to make a difference right away.
Even if you’ve asked a few great questions, you should aim to close on a strong note and this question helps you accomplish that. Employers want to hire positive people, and you are demonstrating your suitability by eagerly asking about the next steps.
Don’t miss this opportunity.
In summary, don’t skip the chance to ask questions. It’s expected, and if you don’t ask at least two, you will appear disinterested and less engaged than your prospective employer would like. So ask these five thought-provoking questions to help you demonstrate your passion for the position and stand out from the rest!