6 questions you should be asking a potential employer in your interview
Things are going well, all pitfalls have been avoided, you’ve nailed their tough questions with aplomb and you’re feeling confident about the role.
Now you’re ready to seal the deal with some spot-on questions to ask the interviewer towards the end of your conversation.
Far from a prompt to ask standard, uninspired questions to fill up the time, you should be using this cue as a chance to glean actual insights about the company and its culture whilst discovering more about the role. Asking the right questions gives you a further opportunity to really make your mark and leave a lasting impression on your interviewer.
Questions that show you’ve done your research, approached them intelligently and demonstrate enthusiasm for the company, stand you in good stead for the future. Here, we’ll talk through the questions you should be asking a potential employer at your next interview – the ones that’ll separate you from other candidates going for the role.
1. How has this position evolved?
This innocuous-looking question is a great one because it allows you to discover how the company conducts itself. How do they approach advancement and development? Is it a stepping stone to progression or will you be stuck in the same position for years? Whether you view this as a problem is entirely up to your own view of career progression, but it’s worth asking either way.
2. What would the ideal candidate do to impress you in their first month?
A useful one that lets you know exactly what you should be focusing on if you’re successful, it shows you’re a driven individual looking to succeed, as well as what you can expect from the role in the early stages. Additionally, your answer is a further indication of whether you’re an ideal match for the role requirements, both in terms of hard and soft skills.
3. What are some challenges that I might face in this position?
The sign of a credible role is how your interviewer answers this question. If they’re forthcoming, they’ll reveal actual challenges you could encounter. There’s a chance things could be downplayed, but if there’s outright denial of any drawbacks completely, then you’re probably not going to be stretched by this particular role. Proceed with caution if this is the answer you get.
4. Does this position offer a set route of progression?
An important question for ambitious candidates to ask – it is acceptable to enquire about the potential for progression in the position and within the department. Some positons offer a set route of progression, should the successful candidate be interested in developing with the company. A straight line of progression could see the candidate set their sights on supervisor, team leader and manager positions – essentially taking on the responsibilities of the person directly above them as they move up the ladder.
However, some positions have less ridged and obvious routes of progression – often requiring the individual to demonstrate specialisms and move upwards on a diagonal trajectory.
Asking this question demonstrates an ambitious personality and showcases you’re not taking promotion and progress as a given, but rather something that needs to be worked towards. Furthermore, if the answer to the question suggests cross-departmental or diagonal progression, you can start working towards this as soon as you accept the position.
5. How would you describe a successful manager at this company?
What are the qualities this company values in their managers? Use this question as a checklist to see whether you’re the right fit from the start or as a measure of how you need to approach the new role. If the skills they mention tick your boxes, be sure to demonstrate how you’ve shown these traits throughout your career.
6. How does the company match up to its own core values?
A better way of asking: “Are there any weaknesses that need addressing?” This question reveals a lot about a company while still remaining respectful. In your current position, you should be aware of a company’s shortcomings, and this is a great way to approach the topic. Additionally, it shows that you want to understand more about the internal workings of your potential new employers.
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