At some point during your job interview you get to be the one to ask questions. It can happen, of course, that the recruiter has already told you absolutely everything you needed to know and you have no more questions, but…let’s be honest: situations like this don’t happen too often. It’s not that the interviewer tries to hide anything from you on purpose, but sometimes they simply can’t think of any other potentially important and interesting piece of information for you. This is why, given the chance, you should always ask questions. The first and most obvious benefit of asking for more information is that it helps to make a good first impression: the recruiter will feel that you truly are interested in the job and that you take all this process seriously.
What are some useful questions? Keep reading and you’ll find out!
What is a typical day like in this position?
Getting an answer to this question will let you evaluate if the position you are applying for is related to a variety of tasks or working on a single project. It also helps you to find out about the way your potential new team works, whether they hold quick stand-up meetings or longer weekly ones and how well your own preferences and routines fit into this scenario.
How would you describe the team environment?
It allows you to find out if the people you’ll potentially work with are helpful, willing to share their experience and knowledge or if they hang out together outside the office. This will give you a better idea of your new workmates and how comfortable you will feel around them.
Does the company invest in employee training and development?
If you care about ongoing professional development and training, make sure to ask if your potential employer enables its staff to participate in training and conferences. Some companies offer an annual training budget so that their employees have a possibility to broaden their knowledge and attend events relevant for their job.
What are the main short-term goals this team has?
Is your team facing any challenges these days? Perhaps an important and complex project has just started? Asking about it will help you understand why the vacancy you are applying for has opened and what your chances for long-term employment are.
How does this company measure and evaluate team/ individual work performance?
It is useful to know beforehand how the effects of your work will be measured and assessed. Is there any system of annual interviews or does the evaluation depend entirely on your potential new boss? Will you get evaluated on a regular basis? If you want to find out the benefits of regular performance evaluation, please read our article on that topic.
What are the next steps of this recruitment process?
If this hasn’t been clarified during your interview, you should definitely ask about it. Perhaps you’ll be requested to prepare a task or get ready for an interview with higher management. It’s good to know such things in advance.
OK, so that’s for the questions you CAN and SHOULD ask during your job interview. They will not only help you gather important information but also make a good first impression on your interviewer.
Now, what are some questions you’d better not ask? Here are some examples:
How did I do?
In a professional job interview the recruiter is not expected to provide the candidate with information about his/her chances to get the job. That’s why it is not a good idea to ask about it. What you can do, is – in case you get turned down – to inquire about the reasons for such a decision. You might not always get a solid answer, but you might also learn about aspects you should improve in terms of your knowledge or preparation.
How many other candidates are you interviewing for this position?
Even though it is completely understandable why you could be interested in knowing how many “opponents” you have, you should not, in any case, expect the interviewer to answer a question like this. Moreover, it is way more preferable to count on your own competences and experiences rather than being the only candidate left in the process.
To sum up: during your job interview consider the recruiter as a valuable source of information about the company, its processes and your potential new team. Don’t restrain yourself from asking questions and being curious, as long as you keep to reasonable limits. Our final piece of advice: get 2-3 questions ready before the interview.
And you, what do you ask recruiters during interviews?