Job interviews can be intimidating, but what many people don’t realize is that an interview is a two-way street. Employers aren’t the only ones with the privilege to interrogate with question after question. As a candidate, it’s important that you know how and when to voice your most important questions. Especially, questions about the company, the position, and the industry.
Sure, it can be scary to speak up and ask your most intriguing (sometimes terrifying) and important questions.
But because they are thought-provoking and insightful, you shouldn’t be scared to ask these…
What are the most important characteristics that someone needs to succeed in this position?
This question will help your interviewer get past what you look like on paper and focus on you as a person. If your resume isn’t perfect, directing the conversation toward your amazing personality can make up for what might be lacking. If your resume is perfect, recruiters still like to form a connection with a candidate. And then, see what characteristics they would bring to a position.
More importantly, the answer to this question can help you make a critical decision…
Is this company and position the best fit for you?
Is the recruiter’s answer is,“self-starter” or “entrepreneurial”? This could mean you would be working on your own a lot. On the other hand, are “personable” and “collaborative” the words that come to mind for the interviewer? This could tell you the opposite. Either way, learning what personal characteristics are vital are an important consideration. So you must ask this question. Then listen carefully to the response.
Do you enjoy working here?
This question may catch a recruiter off-guard, but their answer will be very telling. Do they confidently answer “yes,” paired with a smile and an enthusiastic, drawn-out response? Do they take the time to tell you every single reason why they love the company? Obviously, that’s a good sign. But if they hesitate, drop eye contact or force an awkward answer? That’s a red flag worthy of taking a step back and take another look at your future there.
This question also helps the interview turn into more of a conversation, rather than just Q&A.
Sure, asking this question may be daunting. But it gives recruiters a chance to reflect on their own experiences and talk about themselves. And frankly, sometimes we all like to do that… especially when we’re proud of our work.
Is there anything about myself, my skills or my background that has made me stand out as someone who might not be the right fit for this position?
This is one of the important questions to ask if you didn’t get the job. Getting feedback on why the company decided not to move forward is essential but may be the scariest question of them all, because there is the possibility that we may get slapped in the face with rejection and a whole list of ways you messed up, said the wrong thing, or simply didn’t live up to a recruiters expectations. Facing potential negative feedback head-on can be scary, but it can also be very beneficial. Asking this question shows that you can take constructive criticism and are dedicated to continuously improving, even if it may not be with that company. Who knows, you might even get the job after all.
What is the reason for the open position? Is it a new position, or did someone leave?
This question may seem a bit forward or as having a negative connotation toward a company. But it’s critical to do some digging to truly find out why there is an open position. If the answer is because the company is growing or because of a promotion, great! If the answer seems indirect or the recruiter dismisses the question, not so great. Although an open position doesn’t necessarily mean there is something undesirable about a company, it’s important to be straightforward in order to get a straightforward answer. An indirect answer can tell you a lot about any patterns in people quitting, getting fired, etc.
What are some challenges that will face the person filling this position?
This question can be uncomfortable because it forces the interviewer to talk about potential negative aspects of the position. It can be scary to put someone else in an awkward position. But you owe it to yourself to know what you are up against if you end up with the job! There will be drawbacks to any position. But challenges can also be good, so don’t be afraid to push for the true answer.
An interview is your opportunity to size up the company while they size you up.
These important questions, perhaps the five most important ever, will help you decide if you really want to work there. Or not.
For this post, we’d like to thank our friends at Levo.