The job interview process is a two-way street; dialogue is the key factor to a successful encounter.
Remember the Five “P’s”…Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
Questions for consideration include:
1. What happened to the previous employee or why is the position available? This will allow you to determine if the employee was promoted (a good sign and may indicate future opportunity if the company promotes from within) or did they move on (which may indicate that you may have to dig deeper in your questioning to determine management style and corporate culture to determine “fit”.) or is the job a newly created role and the question can reveal the amount of turnover in the position. Beware: If the position has had five people in that role in the last four years this may be a “red flag”, especially if they are no longer with the company, it could signal management or leadership concerns, etc.
2. What type of on-boarding or initial training is provided to ensure success? Does (insert name of organization) support continuing education or certifications? This question allows the company to express the fundamentals they have in place to ensure your success through a detailed on-boarding and trainee program, continuing education, and resources or certifications for continued professional growth and development. Ongoing training programs are proven to increase employee engagement.
3. What is the preferred management style of the (insert department, company, etc.)? This question will determine if the role is that of a “worker bee” with minimal contribution or does the culture support input allowing you to contribute concepts and ideas for growth and development of your role and the organization.
4. Would you paint a picture of the typical day in the role of a (insert job title)? This allows the organization to provide a snapshot of the role and what you can expect. Look for defined, confident replies. Some companies allow for job shadowing to determine if a role is a good fit for you and the company.
5. What challenges/problems/concerns are associated with (insert the department, the role, the company)?
This will reveal the pain they need to address and may open the opportunity for you to share background, skills, or abilities that may assist in overcoming the various challenges revealed and/or mentioned in the job posting. How can you be of immediate benefit to help the team and the company achieve their defined goals and objectives?
6. How are expectations measured?
This will allow you to get a sense of how your progress and success or failure will be reviewed. Does the company provide 90-day feedback and review? 6-months? or annually? The employee review allows for periodic feedback to assess your contributions and keep you on track for success in your role.
7. What are next steps in the hiring process? This question should be asked at the end of your job interview. You will gain insight as to the hiring manager’s processes for moving forward and you will be able to navigate your next steps for outreach and expectations. Should you follow-up by phone? email? When will they be making a decision?
It is “OK” to ask questions. It is necessary and required! You are interviewing the organization and their team just as much as they are interviewing you. Why? Because you need to also determine “fit”, to learn if this organization’s culture and leadership environment “fits” with your work style and career goals so that you can flourish and succeed and contribute in a productive and meaningful capacity.