Most job seekers might believe that a traditional job interview is a conversation where only the recruiters could throw questions. Today’s hiring environment, however, has changed. More than just answering delivered questions, candidates are now allowed and even encouraged to ask back a set of questions to the potential employers during an interview.
This type of ‘two-way’ conversation benefits both candidates and recruiters. On one hand, recruiters can gain better insight into whether the applicants are prepared for their interview or whether they are genuinely interested in the job or not. Meanwhile, for job seekers, the opportunity to ask questions can be used to evaluate if the job is truly a good fit for them. Job seekers can also ask about day-to-day work culture in the company to see if the culture meets their expectations.
That being said, preparing questions before the D-day is important. What job seekers should be wary of when ‘interviewing’ recruiters is that you should prepare a set of ‘smart questions’ - the questions must be full of tact, something you or anybody cannot find easily on the Internet.
To guide you, here’s a short list of good questions to ask your potential employer to get the best insight about the job and company you are applying for:
Show interest in the company
1. “What makes the employees happy with this company?” - Asking this question might actually flatter the hiring manager and would take the opportunity to brag about what’s nice about the company.
2. “What is the management style?” - Sometimes, the success of an organisation is attributed to its management style, thus affecting the whole business departments. If this is one secret of their employer brand then you would be most proud to be part of the team.
Show how you value professional growth
3. “What are the prospects of professional advancements in this company?” - Assertive as you are, you want to let your hiring manager know that you are coming in as a talent that seriously aims to grow, and that you would like to know how you can achieve that.
4. "Is this a new work position? What challenges will I be facing?" - This is a better question than “why did the previous employee leave the post?”. Employers might not be too comfortable discussing past issues that the previous employee might have been involved in. But knowing the challenges of the position is more significant for you since you will be dealing with that directly.
5. "Can you describe the responsibilities of the position?" - Much like the challenges you would like to know of the job position, knowing expected responsibilities will give you a heads up of the kind of work.
Get to know the company culture better
6. “May I know what a typical day or week in this job position looks like?” - This mental “walkthrough” is a good opportunity for you to determine the initial adjustments that you need to make, especially in the first few weeks where anxiety to a new job is high.
7. “When and how do people like to give and receive feedback?” - This question helps you understand how the company handles or deals with conflict and politics. Healthy conflict allows employees to share and resolve multiple viewpoints; while ill-managed conflicts can raise more misunderstanding and miscommunication that will make your typical day at work more stressful.
8. “How does the organisation support professional development and career growth?” - With this question, your goal is to see how engaged employees are and whether they feel like they have a good deal with the employer. Companies that really live their values integrate them into their talent management processes.
The closing and follow up
9. “Do you have any other question you’d like me to answer?” - Asking this question will give the impression of your “openness” to anything, sometimes even on a personal level. This question invites the interviewer for a “bolder” question that they probably missed to ask.
10. “When will I hear from you?” - While you consider this job position as a priority among other choices, asking this question impresses that you have other considerations in the pipeline. The answer to this question gives you both the unspoken commitment to let each other know the outcome of the job interview.