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Knowing what questions to ask in an interview is crucial in deciding whether or not you want to work for a company or not.
While the interviewer gets the chance to ask the first questions and weigh if you are a good fit to fill in the job opening, the end of the interview is your chance at asking questions in an interview.
The whole point in preparing a list of questions to ask your potential employer in an interview is not only to impress but to actually discover if the company is a good fit for your personality, skills, and goals.
You want to make sure that you have some good questions to ask in order to make a well-informed decision.
8 questions to ask in an interview
Is this a newly created role or is it replacing someone leaving?
If the role is newly created, that’s a good sign, as the company is growing and has the financial capability to hire new people.
If the role is available because someone is leaving, you can continue by asking “Why is the person leaving?”. This is a great question to ask in an interview as you will have a better idea about their employee turnover.
The answer you want to hear is that the person has been with the company for many years and they either move to another city or country, change industry or work for a much bigger company or a much smaller, such as a startup.
What you don’t want to hear is negative feedback about the employee that is leaving. That is a big red flag.
Who would I be reporting to, should I get the job?
This is one of the best questions to ask at the end of a job interview because it will help the interviewer already picture you as an employee and it can potentially influence their decision of hiring you, assuming you did well during the interview.
To get a better understanding of how this role sits in the department and if the company’s departments are structured well, this is one of the best questions to ask in an interview.
For example, if you are interviewing for a Sales Executive role, this should report to a Sales Manager and the Sales Manager should report to the Sales Director or Operations Manager.
If the Sales Executive reports to the CEO, given that it’s a small company, despite having a Sales Manager, it means that the CEO is micromanaging his team, not giving enough responsibility, therefore no hope of learning and growing.
What are the management expectations from the Sales Executive in the first year?
Many career coaches advise asking about the expectations in the first 3 to 6 months. Go further and ask about their expectations in the first year.
This shows commitment and again, will help the interviewer picture you as part of the team.
This is one of the best questions to ask in an interview because it will help you to understand how demanding the company is. You need to know exactly what to expect and if the company is fair in what they are providing and what they are expecting.
For a Sales Executive, it wouldn’t be normal to set very high targets and expect to bring in a lot of new clients. Normally, a Sales Executive should be trained and closely supervised by the Sales Manager in the whole sales process, from market research, prioritizing, making cold calls, sending emails, meeting prospects and closing deals.
If they expect you to manage yourself and bring in deals, this means that they want a Sales Manager but are not willing to pay for more than a Sales Executive. This applies to any other type of role.
Makes sure you understand the job description before going to the interview.
What are the biggest challenges for this role and department as a whole?
What you want to find out with this question is if you can handle the challenges, if your experience and skills will help in solving these challenges.
What is the career path for this role within the company?
Normally, your first appraisal should be after completing the probation period. During the appraisal, you should have clear feedback from the management regarding your performance and meeting expectations.
Afterward, given that your appraisal was positive, you should expect either a raise or a promotion after completing your first year with the company.
If the career path is not clear, if they don’t have a proper plan regarding career advancement, you might want to reconsider working there.
What are some of the company’s short-term goals?
The short-term goals of the company will give you an overview of the importance of this role and they should be somehow aligned with management expectations from this role in the first year.
That is why this is one of the most important questions to ask in an interview.
For example, if the company’s short-term goals are to spread awareness and increase its client pipeline, you then know that the sales department plays a very important role in helping achieve those goals.
If the company’s goals are to expand to other markets, then it will rely more on the upper management and marketing department. Regardless of its goals, the most important thing is for the company to actually have goals.
Who are the company’s biggest competitors?
While you should know their main competitors from the research you’ve done prior to attending the job interview, this is one of the best questions to ask in an interview because the interviewer’s answer will provide you with information that you might not be able to find online and give you a better understanding of how they position themselves as a company in the market.
What are the next steps in the interview process?
This is one of the best questions to ask at the end of a job interview, as it shows the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in working with the company and will also help you manage expectations and know when and how to follow up.
The whole point in asking questions in an interview is to find out as much as possible about the role and the company to be able to have a clear picture if this opportunity is a good fit for you or not.
Tips about questions to ask in an interview
You should refrain from asking questions about the salary, benefits, etc. in an interview, unless you are interviewing for a very senior position.
For mid-level positions, it’s better to keep these questions for a later stage of the job interview.
Also, regardless of the level of seniority, you should absolutely always ask questions in an interview.
This is one of the most important points that hiring managers take into consideration about job candidates.
You might not fit the requirements 100% but asking the right questions, or simply asking, will greately increase your chances of moving forward with in the interviewing process.
Similarly, you might be the perfect fit for the job but if you forget to ask questions during your job interview, you are slashing your chances of getting the job.
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