You’ve made it past all the standard job interview questions — like “Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?” and “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Now it’s your turn. Your interviewer will undoubtedly give you the floor and ask if you have any questions for them. Your answer? Yes!
To help with your job interview preparation, our friends at Textbooks.com talked with 11 recruiters, hiring experts, and career coaches on the best questions to ask in a job interview.
1. What is a typical day like?
“It not only allows you to understand the structure of the position, but the work/life balance. Also, who you’d be interacting with, daily success metrics, and whether this position is highly structured and micromanaged or operates more independently with full decision making authority.”
– Kim Monaghan, Career Happiness Coach at KBMCoaching.com
2. What are the most important projects/priorities for this role/team in the next 3-6 months?
“This question works well for a couple of reasons. 1) It shows the interviewer that you are truly interested in the work and how you can make a difference if hired. 2) It helps you get a better idea of the day-to-day work and major success metrics to make sure the role is a good fit. 3) It can be asked in just about every job interview and can even be asked of each individual that you interview with at the same company – often people view the role from different perspectives.”
– Pamela Skillings, Coaching & Career Counselor at BigInterview.com
3. What is the number 1 characteristic you want in the person you’re going to hire?
“I like this question because there is a good chance they won’t tell you the academic, rational stuff that they put in the job description. This is why its hidden information that is vital to the job seeker. It makes the hiring manager think about what they really are looking for. It also sets you up to find subtle ways of reinforcing those qualities as you respond to further interview questions.”
– Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, Career & Leadership Coach at IntrovertWhisperer.com
4. What type of person best succeeds in this role?
“This gives the interviewer the opportunity to describe the personality and work habits of their ideal employee for this position. You can learn a lot about their description if you listen carefully. Ultimately, this will allow you to compare your own personality and work habits and decide if you will be a good fit for this position at this company.”
– Hallie Crawford, Certified Career Coach and Founder of HallieCrawford.com
5. What is the most challenging part of this position?
“It’s always interesting to hear what an insider thinks is difficult, so you can consider whether it’s the type of problem solving you enjoy. I also recommend following up by asking the interviewer what they like best about working for the company to help balance out the conversation. It creates a positive spin and lets the interviewer interact in a more personal way, while letting you peek a little deeper into the culture.”
– Rita Friedman, Career Coach at PhillyCareerCoach.com
6. What are the most important things that I would learn during my first 6-12 months on the job? What can I do to get started on those topics?
“Look beyond the job and ask questions about the business as a whole. You accomplish two things here. First, you show that you have at least a basic understanding of what the company does. Your question should be specific and related to your pre-interview research — an honest question that popped into your head while you were reading about the company. Second, you get to see how well tied in your interviewer is to the rest of the business. There are many functions where an individual may not be tied into the core business, and that’s a huge red flag. No matter what the role of your interviewer, especially if it’s someone from HR, you should expect him or her to be able to answer specific business-related questions.”
– Willy Franzen, Founder of OneDayOneJob.com
7. Is there room for growth?
“You want to make sure that you will not be stuck in a dead-end job. Look for something that will allow you to move up the ladder or develop new skills. Find out how much time and effort you must put into your role before you can see real growth and change occur.”
– Kristen Gilbert, President of Evolution-Coaching.com
8. How will I be evaluated?
“Young adults typically have little to no experience in the workforce and can be surprised at how differently employers evaluate their employees as compared to how teachers evaluate their students. When you’re working for an employer, there typically aren’t a lot of objective metrics that teachers use – such as homework assignments to submit for credit, participation points, or tests. Instead, employers tend to evaluate their employees using a variety of subjective criterion, including attitude and aptitude, confidence, team work, management time required, fast learner, and more. The more that you can understand what matters to your manager, the better the opportunity you’ll have to impress her.”
– Steven Rothberg, President and Founder of CollegeRecruiter.com
9. Can you describe the company culture?
“This helps to provide a greater understanding of company values, beliefs, norms, and behavior in the work environment. An HR manager should be able to describe the culture in a favorable and positive light. If not, that would be cause for concern.”
– Dr. Monique Johnson, Career Coach and Diversity Consultant at DrMoniqueCJohnson.com
10. If there were one thing you could change about your company’s culture, what would it be?
“That will get you an honest answer to what’s wrong with their culture. Anyone can say positive things about their culture, but what’s important is figuring out what’s wrong with the culture and if you can handle whatever it is.”
– Abby Kohut, President of AbsolutelyAbby.com
11. Can I get a tour and talk to some team members?
“The most important thing a candidate can do is ask to walk through the office and speak to a few current employees without interference. It’s important to understand the culture and way of life, and it is always going to depend on who you ask – the recruiter, hiring manager, and other staff all have different ideas about the culture, and it’s important to see for yourself. I used to encourage candidates to do this in our office because I wanted them to make the right choice for them and for us.”
– Ben Eubanks, Founder of UpStartHR.com