Because everyone should dig their job

Smart Questions To Ask At Your Interview

By Sarah Landrum

During the interview process, candidates tend to forget that the interviewer shouldn’t be the only one asking questions. You want to really get a sense of the job you’re applying for, the work environment and whether you think this is going to be the place for you. Asking the interviewer quality questions can make you seem enthusiastic about the job, and it shows that you did some research and planning for this interview as well.

The next time the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them, don’t be afraid to speak up! Here are 13 questions your interviewers are going to love to answer:

Why is this position available?

This can tell you a whole lot about the position you’re applying for. If it’s a new position, you should probably expect to be doing a lot of things on your own since there’s likely no one there who’s done this exact job before.

Another thing to keep in mind is, according to a LinkedIn survey, the number one reason why people change jobs is for a greater opportunity for advancement. If someone who moved onto another position within the company previously occupied the job, it shows there’s good upward mobility in the company. However, if that person left to go somewhere else, it could mean they got a better offer from another company with more opportunity for them to grow.

How would you describe the company’s culture?

This is a great question for showing that you want to fit into the company as well as getting a feel for whether or not you’re going to be happy working there every day. After all, you want a work environment you’ll enjoy being a part of.

Can I get an example of how I would collaborate with my manager or supervisor?

Managers have the biggest impact on employee engagement, so it’s important they’re the type who will work with you and encourage you to succeed. Employees who work for engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged with their own jobs. This question will help you get a feel for how your manager is going to interact with you.

Where do you see the company in three years, and how would I contribute to that if I got hired?

40% of HR professionals say their biggest challenge is employee retention and turnover. They’re looking for workers who want to be in this for the long haul.

If you ask this question to your interviewer, it shows that you want to be with the company long-term — and that’s something they’re going to respond to. It also shows that you want to leave a lasting mark on whatever company you work for and that you want to do big things.

What’s your employee turnover rate, and how are you addressing it?

This goes hand in hand with the last question. It’ll let you know what kind of company you’re working for if they can’t keep anyone employed. It shows again as well that you’re looking for something long-term and you want to know if they’re the kind of company that’s going to give you that.

Additionally, remember that a lack of opportunity for advancement is a prime motivator for changing jobs? It’s also the second biggest source of work stress for employees, coming in at at 44%. It’s not healthy for you to be in a work environment where you feel stuck.

What do you like most about working here? Can you tell me more about your experience with the company?

People really do like to talk about themselves. A study shows that talking about ourselves activates the reward areas in the brain — ones that are also connected to sex and food. This will likely make the interviewer think positively of the conversation you’re having.

This question also gives you a chance to learn more about the company. If your interviewer has been there for a while, there’s obviously a reason why they’ve chosen to stay for so long. Find out what that reason is and if it’s something you value in a job as well.

Is there anyone else you think I should meet with?

If they want to bring in potential coworkers or the person you’ll be working under to see how you get along, that’s a good sign they value teamwork. They won’t want to hire someone who doesn’t seem to mesh with the people already working there.

This also gives you a chance to see if you have more interviews you’ll need to complete, and hopefully whom they’ll be with so you can prepare.

What are the biggest challenges I’ll face in this position?

This question helps you get more of a sense of what you’re going to be doing on a daily basis. It’ll also let you know what you’ll have to work on to ensure you succeed should you get this position. If they say there aren’t any challenges in this job, they’re likely not being honest with you — and it’s probably not a position you’re going to enjoy.

Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications for the position?

Yes, this is definitely a terrifying question to ask. It leaves you vulnerable, and you have to be willing to listen to what they have to say. However, it also shows that you’re confident enough to discuss your weaknesses so you can work on them and become better.

What can I do between now and my next interview that would help me hit the ground running if hired?

This is a more subtle way to see what, if any, qualification gaps exist. Asking shows you take initiative and you’re willing to learn. Of course, you have to actually follow through on their recommendations, but your interviewer will be impressed at your next interview when you come having read the book, gotten the certification, or practiced the skill they recommended.

When your staff comes to you with conflicts, how do you address them?

Asking this shows that you know conflict resolution is a necessity and needs to be dealt with in a professional manner. It also gives you a bit more info about the company and how it works, too. You want problems to be discussed and dealt with, not just ignored and brushed to the side.

If I’m hired, what should I prioritize in my first few months besides learning the ropes of the company?

This question gets you to the specifics of what they’re going to expect from you as a new hire. Along with showing that you’re eager to accomplish big things, this can help you set up a plan for if you get the position. If you know what they expect from you, then you can take the proper steps to ensure you accomplish that.

What are the next steps (Timeline for making a decision, more interviews, etc.)?

This is something you want to make sure they don’t forget to tell you. Getting a flowing conversation going is good, but you need to know this information so you aren’t lost when the interview is over, wondering what to do now.

This should let you know how and when to follow up with them and what to expect going forward. Also, it should give you an idea of how long you should wait around for a phone call from them before moving on and looking for something else.

Bonus: Think of a question tailored to what your interviewer is saying.

You want to show that you’re actively listening and paying attention throughout the interview. There’s no better way to do that than to ask specific questions pertaining to what the interviewer has been saying. It shows that you’re quick at picking up details as well, which is a good quality in an employee.

Bringing some questions to ask your interviewer shows that you’re engaged and interested in the company, but it also gives you the information you need to make your final decisions as to whether this particular company — and job — is somewhere you’d like to be. Have at least a few of these questions prepared before you go into your interview — enough to have backups in case they answer something you were planning to ask.