By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC
The most important questions of your interviews might be the ones you ask. In the interview, don’t think you’re the only one who is “on the spot.” It is perfectly acceptable for you to ask questions of the interviewer and to take notes throughout the meeting (which will help you to formulate your questions). When an interviewer asks, “So, do you have any questions for me?” the worst thing you could possibly say is “Nope.” In some cases, you’ll be judged more on the questions you’re asking than the answers you’re giving.
After all, you might wind-up working for this individual, so it’s important for you to find out as much as you can about how he or she works, thinks, and communicates. Additionally, asking smart questions will help you sound like an articulate, savvy business professional. You’ll seem well-prepared and genuinely interested in working for the organization.
Take a look at these questions that you can ask the interviewer, and then feel free to come-up with even more of your own:
- Can you give me more detail about the position’s responsibilities?
- Where do you see this position going in the next few years?
- What are two or three significant things you would want me to accomplish in my first few months?
- How often has this position been filled in the past two to five years?
- What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this position?
- How can I most quickly become a strong contributor within the organization?
- How will my performance be evaluated, and at what frequency?
- What are the most challenging aspects of the job for which I am being considered?
- How are loyalty and hard work rewarded at this organization?
- How would you define or describe your own management style?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of my prospective subordinates, as you see them?
- With whom will I be interacting most frequently, and what are their responsibilities? What will be the nature of our interaction?
- What would the limits of my authority and responsibility be?
- What particular things about my background, experience, and style interest you?
- What makes you think I’ll be successful? What causes you concern about my candidacy?
- What freedom would I have to act and what budget would be available to me for: (a) changes in staffing, promotion, salary increases; (b) use of consultants, requesting or purchasing software and hardware systems, capital for new ideas and approaches; (c) changes within my area regarding policies, procedures, practices, performance, and expectations?
- How do you like your people to communicate with you? (verbally, in writing, informally, in meetings, by phone, voicemail, e-mail, only when necessary?)
- What are some of your longer-term objectives?
- Why did you join this company? Why have you stayed?
- Now that we’ve had a chance to talk, how does my background measure-up to the requirements of the job? To the other candidates?
- Am I being seriously considered for this position?
- Where are you in the process? What’s our next step?
- If I don’t hear from you within (time period), would it be ok to call you?
Prepare thoroughly for your interviews by studying and practicing both your answers and your questions. The time you invest in this process will definitely pay-off with more – and better – job offers!