Job interviews can be stressful. And if you want to land the position of your dreams, you have to prepare.
But preparation isn’t only about rehearsing your answers for commonly asked questions. It’s also about preparing a list of questions to ask the interviewer in return.
At the end of every interview, the hiring manager is going to ask if you have any questions for them.
They want (and expect) you to ask questions. It shows that you’re interested in the company and that you’re eager to learn – two key characteristics required for every job.
If you end the meeting without asking at least a few questions, you can be sure that you’re not going to get an offer.
If you want to land a new role, here are the five questions that you need to ask in every job interview.
What Are the Day-to-Day Responsibilities of the Job?
Many interviewers give an overview of the position but don’t delve into the day-to-day details of the job. If your interviewer is vague or unclear about the actual duties, this is a great question to ask.
However, if they have covered the details thoroughly, do not ask this. That will only give them the impression that you weren’t listening.
You can also ask who you would report to and who you would work.
Will I report directly to the VP?
Will I report to a manager?
Are there other team members who I’ll work alongside, or will you be working independently?
If the interviewer has already explained all of these details, you can replace that question with this one:
What are the most important characteristics needed for someone to do this job?
This question is a good way to figure out if you’re actually prepared to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of the job.
What Is the Company Culture Like?
The interview is not the time to ask if you can bring your dog to work or take long lunch breaks. That’s not what we mean by company culture.
When we use this term, we’re referring to the environment, values, and the general expectations of the organization.
Asking about the company culture shows that you’re actually interested in working there. It shows that you want the job and that you hope your personality aligns with their vision of an ideal employee.
You should always research the company before your interview. But asking your interviewer about the company culture is a great way to glean insight that you can’t get from online research.
It can also be helpful to ask the interviewer what their favorite part of working for the company is. Just don’t pry too much.
Remember, your objective is to learn more about the company, not necessarily about the person interviewing you.
Are There Opportunities for Advancement and Professional Development?
This is a great question, but you have to be careful about how you ask it.
You don’t want to make it sound like you’re already looking for a promotion before you’ve even gotten the job.
So, make sure to ask this question the right way.
Make it clear that you’re interested in growing with the company and progressing in your career. You can ask if the company has any programs for career development, training, or mentorship.
Another way to spin this is to ask about the career paths of other employees. How have people progressed from this position? What roles do they work in now?
That will give you some insight into whether the company tends to promote from within.
Can You Clarify That for Me?
In this context, “that” can be anything. If the interview mentioned something that you didn’t understand, ask them to clear it up for you.
You should always have a notepad and pen with you in an interview to jot down questions. But, make sure not to spend the entire meeting writing things down.
While you’re talking, make eye contact with the interviewer the whole time. But if they say something that you need clarification on, don’t hesitate to jot down a quick note.
This question shows that you’re a good listener, and that you’ve been paying attention to what the interviewer has been saying. It also shows that you’re thorough and that you’re not afraid to ask questions. Lastly, it shows that you are truly interested in learning about the job.
When it’s your turn to ask questions at the end of your meeting, take a peek at your notes and ask for clarification on whatever “that” is.
What Are the Next Steps in the Interview Process?
It’s crucial to know about the next steps of the hiring process. Unless they’ve already given you these details, this is one question you can’t forget.
Ask how far along in the hiring process they are. Have they just begun interviews, or are they nearing the end?
Ask when they expect the interview period to be over, and if there will be a second round of call-back interviews later on.
It’s also okay to ask if they have a start date or when they plan to hire. By knowing this info, you’ll know when to follow up.
Follow up with a thank-you note immediately after the interview, then follow up again towards the end of the hiring period. If you’re one of the last two candidates in consideration for the position, that follow up may tip the scale in your favor.
Before you head into your next job interview, make sure to prepare. Keep these five questions in mind and ask them when the opportunity arises. If the opportunity doesn’t arise, create the opportunity for yourself!
Do not leave your interview without asking at least two or three good questions:
- What are the day-to-day responsibilities of the job?
- What is the company culture like?
- Are there opportunities for advancement and development?
- Can you clarify what we discussed earlier?
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
Knowing what to ask is just as important as knowing what not to ask. Avoid asking questions about salary, vacation time, and how long it takes to get a raise or promotion.
Remember, the interview is the chance to market yourself and show off your skills.
Asking the right questions shows that you can conduct yourself in a professional manner. And being a professional is essential to landing a job, no matter what type of job you’re looking for.
Angus Flynn, Business Manager of Arte, a luxury apartment complex in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. He has been with Alliance Residential Company for over 5 years. He has extensive experience with a variety of properties, from large lease-ups to smaller, more urban assets.