15 Questions You Should Always Ask at the End of a Job Interview
There are two important moments that occur in every job interview — the first impression, and the last. The first impression is about instantly portraying a positive image of yourself to the interviewer. You want to be confident, personable, and eager to talk. By the time the interview is over, you will have relaxed, and will hopefully have a rapport with the other person. This is the time to hit them with some questions that can be enlightening, and leave things on a lasting, positive end note.
1. "Why Is the Person I am Replacing Leaving the Company?"
This question can be considered quite assertive, but it's definitely fair game. If you are filling the shoes of someone else, you want to know why they are leaving. Maybe they got a promotion. Perhaps they were headhunted. Or, they may have hated the job, the people, and the hours so much, they quit. The interviewer may not be as open to answering this if it's the latter, but the reaction on their face, and any hesitation in answering, can speak volumes.
2. "What Would a Current Employee Say About This Position?"
You could always ask them directly (and that's not a bad idea at all… reach out on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook). But in this situation, you can find out how the interviewer reacts to that question. A grimace or raised eyebrows gives away the probability that although the interviewer has talked a good game, the job may not be all it's cracked up to be.
3. "What's the Corporate Culture Like Here?
Is this an environment of backstabbing and name-calling? Do you have to really flatter egos and go the extra mile to get a promotion or a raise? Will your political leanings be looked upon unfavorably? (Some people have been let go due to Facebook and Twitter posts.) Is the atmosphere relaxed, or uptight? You need to know before you sign.
4. "What are the Main Challenges That the Company, and My Department, Are Facing Right Now?
This is a doozy after rounds of questions from the interviewer. You are showing an interest in the issues that you will want to help solve, and you can also gauge the reaction of the person sitting opposite of you. Hopefully, they will be open, honest, and engage in the answer. If they can't think of any, you may want to run and hide. Every company has issues…denying their existence is a red flag of an oppressive corporate culture.
5. "If I Get the Job, What Will Be My First Major Assignment or Goal?"
This shows your eagerness to dive into the role, and gives you fair warning of what your first few weeks, or months, on the job will look like. It may also be a red flag for you that you're about to bite off way more than you can chew, or that the company doesn't entirely understand the role for which you're being hired.
6. "What Qualities Does Your Ideal Candidate Possess?"
Basically — am I the person you had in mind? Of course, you don't ever want to come out and say that. By asking it this way, you can weigh up your own strengths and weaknesses and get a good temperature reading on your chances of success. Oh, and if he or she says, "Actually, you have them all" then you're probably a shoo-in for the job.
7. "What Does Success Look Like for My Particular Role?"
This will vary drastically depending on the company, and the job itself. For some jobs, success comes directly from sales results or hitting hard financial goals. In other jobs, success is based more on your creative output, or how you help raise the company profile. Get to know the parameters for success, so you can meet them and move upward.
8. "Name One Thing You Like, and Don't Like, About Working Here."
The first part of this question is easy. It's a softball to set the interviewer up for the real question: What's not so good about life at your company? They may well be reluctant to answer. They could say something trite, like "Sometimes the people are too nice." But hopefully, you'll get an honest answer. The hours can be long. The work is very challenging. This will give you more meat to contemplate the role you will be filling.
9. "Which of Your Competitors Do You Look Up to, and Why?"
Make no mistake, every company should be looking at their rivals. If you're Pepsi, you take note of everything Coke is doing. If you're Avis, you look at Hertz. How the interviewer answers gives you a good indication of their competitive spirit, and what they are doing to either stay on top, or become a bigger player. There's nothing wrong with admiring a rival; if the interviewer doesn't think anyone is worth his or her respect, this could reflect a narcissistic company culture.
10. "What Are the Opportunities for Growth and Training in This Role?"
Does the company offer help with expenses for further education? Can you expect to climb the ladder quickly, if you meet and exceed your duties? Is the job a dead end, with few chances of advancement? Find out now, before you say yes to a role that could be career suicide.
11. "Is There Anything You Haven't Told Me About the Job That I Should Know?"
This one catches a lot of interviewers off-guard. Many will "um" and "ah" and come back with "Not that I'm aware of." But it's worth asking, because sometimes you get an insight or confession that would not have been presented unless you probed in this manner.
12. "Does the Company Have a History of Layoffs and/or High Turnover?"
You may be able to get some of this information from sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, or by Googling articles on the company. But many times, this kind of information is just not out there. You might get stonewalled here, but you could also get an honest answer. Yes, the company does lay off people for certain reasons, and yes, the turnover is high because many people cannot handle the pace, or the hours.
13. "Is There Anything About My Resume or Experience That Causes Concern?"
Find out what your weaknesses are now, and change the interviewer's opinion if you can. Perhaps they don't see a certain skill listed. You can reply that you are taking courses on that and will be up to speed in weeks. This is your chance to remove doubt from the interviewer's mind, and it also makes you look humble and eager to improve.
14. "Why Did You Decide to Work Here?"
This is a more cunning way of asking about the pros (and maybe cons) of working at the company. It prompts the interviewer to bring in personal experience, and may give you some unique insights into the job, the company, and the competitive landscape.
15. "When Can I Expect to Hear Back From You?"
Finally, you should set expectations for yourself on when you will hear from the company, good or bad, about the position. If the interview process is in its infancy, and there are many candidates to consider, it could take weeks for a decision to be made. On the other hand, you could get a call within a few days. It's important to know this so that you do not harass the recruiter too early. It also gives you a timeline for sending a follow up card or email.
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