In case nobody's ever told you already, I'm going to let you in on a secret. When you apply for a job, and get invited to do an interview, guess what? It's a two way street. The hiring manager is not only trying to get to know you, but they have invited you to get to know them. It's your golden opportunity to learn more about the position, the company, its culture, and how you can grow professionally as a person if you get hired.
It seems obvious, doesn't it? It's so painfully obvious to me now that I can't believe I went through more than one interview without asking a single question. Whatever you do, if the hiring manager asks you if you have any questions, DON'T SAY NO. Have some of these questions prepared in advance so you won't fall into the trap of not being able to come up with a question for them right then and there.
What is a typical day like in this position?
The job description is probably very thorough, so you'll have a good idea what the responsibilities are about. However, have you ever noticed the part at the very bottom that might say "Other duties as assigned"? That usually means that there might be more expected of you than what is listed in the job description. Asking this question might give you an idea of what might not be listed, and it can tell you what your main tasks and goals will be on a daily or weekly or monthly basis.
You might find out more about the company culture, which is very important too! If you enjoy socializing, you might not enjoy a company that rarely hosts a company outing, and if your colleagues have little interest in grabbing lunch together. You would be surprised how much the company culture can affect your happiness and productivity levels.
Is there any opportunity for growth at this company?
This question will indicate that you are very interested in the position, and you hope to stick around for a few years. Hiring managers like this question because it shows initiative and curiosity on your part. Your goal for any new job is that it should help you grow personally and professionally, and it should take you where you want to go in your career.
Nobody likes to start looking for a new jobs every couple of years. Knowing if you'll ever get promoted and how often can really make a difference in how long you can see yourself working at a particular company. I go into an interview with the mindset that if I can't see myself working there for at least five years, then the job probably isn't a good fit.
What's a challenge that this company faces and how do you work around it?
You would want to know what you're getting yourself into before you accept a new job, right? Learning more about the company's challenges will give you an indication on how stressful the job might be, or how organized the leadership team is.
This is also your chance to talk about your strengths. You may be a helpful member on the team if you have ever successfully dealt with a similar challenge before and overcame it.
What do you like about working here?
It's always a good idea to get to know the person interviewing you better. After all, they are going to report to the team how well they think you did during the interview, and if you're still a viable candidate they want to pursue.
What is the team like that I would be working with?
I like to ask this question for two reasons: I want to know how often I will work independently verses collaboratively, and I want to get an idea of how big or how small the department is that I will be working with. I've had jobs where I can work with 10-15 people during a shift, and sometimes I've only worked with one or two other people.
How can I grow with the company in the first 30 days? 6 months? 1 year?
Most companies want a candidate who is goal-oriented and results-driven. By asking this question, you show that you already want to make personal progress that will help the company achieves its goals. I like to ask this question because I want to know how often I can expect a review from my boss. It's good to know what he or she thinks about me and which areas I am excelling in, and which areas I still need to work on.
It's similar to my other question about asking about growth opportunities. This question is a bit more specific in what you can expect the position you're interviewing for will be like. Most people don't reach that first promotion in the first year or two. So trying to imagine what your role will be like a year from now can help you decide whether you will enjoy it or not.
What is the next step in the interview process?
Leave this question for last. Most hiring managers will allow you to ask three or four questions. This will give you an idea of how quickly they are looking to hire, and how you can prepare for the next step. It will really be a sense of relief when you don't hear back from them within the next week.
Do you have any questions that you ask during an interview? Have you helped in your decision to accept a job offer?