25 Questions to Ask During Your Next Job Interview

Magic 8 BallThere’s lots of advice out there about what to ask when the recruiter says, “Have any questions for me?”

The trouble is, most of that advice is starting OKto sound generic… and recruiters are tired of getting asked the same questions over and over again. Even worse: when a candidate asks a question that has nothing to do with that job or company… or even the goals of the applicant.

With that in mind, and broken down by the most common priorities for job seekers, here are my favorite questions to ask during a job interview:

Priority: Culture Fit

  • If you had to describe what it’s like to work here in 3 words, which would you choose?
  • From the top down, how would you describe the leadership style of the company?
  • What changes or improvements do you expect from the person who fills this position?
  • What challenges are most commonly associated with working here… and how can I best rise above those challenges?
  • Who are the super heroes working here now, and what do they do to earn that ‘S’ on their chest?

Priority: Longevity

  • Please walk me through the history of those who have filled this position… how long were they here, what did they do well, and what did they not do well?
  • Over the next five years, how will the work required of me contribute to the company’s mission?
  • Which competitor causes this company the most heartburn? How do we stack up against them?
  • What do you consider the biggest threat to this industry? Which company/competitor do you see tackling that threat best?
  • How will my success be evaluated and communicated? How is mutually-beneficial feedback informally communicated?

Priority: Testing the Recruiter’s Passion

  • When you first started working here, why did you choose this company?
  • Now that you’ve been here several years, how do you view the company differently… have your expectations been met?
  • As you look ahead to the next five years, what excites you most about the company?

Priority: Teamwork

  • What qualities and traits do your very best contributors share?
  • How could I immediately help the current team succeed?

Priority: Learning

  • Are there opportunities for training such as continuing education, company sponsored self-learning and MOOCs, understanding new technologies, etc.?
  • I’m a big believer in finding mentors, and mentoring others, myself; how does this company view mentorship (traditional, reverse, and mutually beneficial)?
  • What educational and experiential background did the person who held this position before me have? What steps would I need to take to best emulate his/her qualifications and success?

Priority: Getting the Job

  • In my first 90 days, what do I need to do to thoroughly exceed your expectations?
  • If I started tomorrow, what are my Top 3 priorities?
  • What changes or improvements do you expect from the person who fills this position?

Priority: Closing Well

  • What other questions can I answer for you today?
  • What are your timelines for deciding which candidate will be offered this position?
  • If I haven’t heard back from you by then, what is the best way to communicate with you without becoming a pest?
  • After our conversation today, what reservations do you have about my ability to do this job – and what might stop me from fitting in right away with the existing team?

As you decide which of these questions to ask, take into consideration not only your goals… but also what might most impress the recruiter, how you can best show you’re a great fit for the existing culture and how you can solve the problem the recruiter is trying to fix with this hire.

Then, be prepared to answer the most important question:

“Would you like to come work for us?”

 

Mark Babbitt AuthorAbout the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable and Forbes regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Bloomberg News, Switch and Shift, and Under30CEO.

AWorldGoneSocial 3D ThumbnailMark’s new book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive (AMACOM), with Ted Coine is now available.

Questions? Contact Mark on Twitter.

 

 

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  • Tom Bolt

    A good list of things to consider. It is even better if you don’t have to whip out a list of your 25 questions and lose the moment. Know these things in advance, plan to ask them, and use the most appropriate for the situation. It may sound silly, but plan to be spontaneous. Nothing is worse than asking a rehearsed question that has already been discussed in the interview.

  • Steve Levy

    Mark – one more:

    Every company has Good, Bad, and Ugly. While I understand how focusing on the Good is important, it’s just as important for me to know about the Ugly. Tell me about the Ugly aspects of the company’s leadership team, the hiring manager, and the company’s performance. What makes YOU uncomfortable about working here?