The candidates who have impressed me the most are those who come prepared with good questions, and those who seem to be most interested in the company…and me. The candidates who fail to make much of an impression rarely have good questions.
In addition to impressing an interviewer, I believe you owe it to yourself to find out as much as you can about your potential employer, and asking questions about things that aren’t necessarily written down is a great way to go through that due process. After all, you will hopefully be employed there for a long time, so it’s a good idea to learn what you’re getting yourself into!
Now to the topic at hand: What are some good questions for an interviewer…and why are they good?
- How did you get to this company? Important attributes that attracted the interviewer to the company may come out here, plus you can potentially leverage his / her answers to trigger other questions to demonstrate your engagement.
- How would you describe your company culture? Hopefully you’ll hear the interviewer personalizing the company values, so you can determine how you might fit into and contribute to the company culture.
- What does success look like for this position and how do you measure it? Rarely has this question been fully answered in a job description or conversation to this point. Even if the job is metric-oriented (aka a call center), there are intangible attributes (energy, optimism, teamwork) that can get highlighted.
- Who else will I be working with in this job? Rarely is any job independent of others. Whether the organization chart shows a working relationship or not, any insights into personal dynamics and collaboration are important, particularly in a matrixed organization.
- If you were going to classify me as an outstanding employee after 90 days of work, what would I need to accomplish? This question hits results vs. a mere job description / metrics and often reveals more insights into what the hiring manager is seeking.
- What else might I be able to share with you to help you see me as a good fit for this job? This question not only may flush out something an interviewer has been holding back, it also demonstrates your investment and commitment to getting the job.
- What are the next steps? Too often a candidate leaves the interview without being clear what is going to happen next and the time frames involved.
These questions should provide you a good start, and I also recommend you think back to this…what do you wish you knew about your former employer before you started there? That might trigger some good questions for you to pursue as you explore future opportunities.
Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.