Grilled: 5 Questions Job Seekers Should Always Ask During an Interview
By, Tim Walker
A job interview can be a lot like a first date. Each person is just trying to figure the other out. People often forget that it should be a two way conversation. They get caught up in preparing for the questions they might get and forget about what questions to ask. During an interview, it’s just as important to figure out whether you are a good match for the company as it is for the company to figure out whether you are the best candidate for the job. From daily tasks and expectations to company culture, it is vitally important to ask questions so you know exactly what position you’re applying for.
Whether you are speaking with a recruiter from a staffing company or an internal hiring manager, here are 5 great questions you should ask at every interview.
What kind of a relationship do you have with your client?
This is a great question to ask a recruiter at a staffing company. You want to make sure the company has a good track record and reputation in placing candidates at the company. A recruiter is your advocate at a company and it’s important to know that you’ll be portrayed in a positive light.
Is this a new position? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do?
It’s always good to know whether this is a brand new position, or whether you’re replacing another employee. Expectations can vary widely. With a new position, you may be expected (or have the freedom) to shape the job and have a hand in determining what the job will eventually look like.
If you are replacing another employee, there will always be some element of comparison between you, and that employee (what he/she accomplished. How he/she acted, etc.). Asking this will also give you the opportunity to understand why the old employee left the job. Was he or she promoted? Fired? The answer can shed a lot of light on the type of company you’ll be working for and what you can expect from the job and the company’s culture.
Is there room for growth within the company?
This is another question that can tell you a lot about the company where you’re interviewing. Knowing that the company likes to hire from within (or, as in the previous question, the reason the job is open is because someone was promoted) can tell you a lot about your opportunities there. Asking your recruiter this question will also tell you more about the kind of relationship they've got with the client.
When can I expect to hear from you? If I am extended a job offer, how soon would you like me to start?
Waiting can be one of the most frustrating parts of looking for a new job; especially if you've been on of work for a long period of time. Your recruiter should always do his or her best to keep you in the loop once you've been submitted for a job. The reality, however, is that sometimes the process can take time. Asking your recruiter to plan a specific time to update you on the hiring process is a great idea. It will also help to keep your name in the recruiter’s mind.
Start dates and times are always negotiable. Sometimes recruiters are hiring for jobs that start immediately (even the next day!), other times jobs will require relocation and a two week notice from your previous employer. Either way, be sure to ask your recruiter about this, so you know exactly what to expect.
Is there anything else I should know about this job?
News reporters will often tell you the most important question they ask during an interview is “Is there anything else you’d like to say?” or “is there anything I forgot to ask?” This almost always elicits an interesting or unexpected answer from an interview subject because they’re given the chance to speak their mind freely and talk about what is most important to them. In the same way, asking your recruiter if there is anything else you should know about the job will give them the chance to review anything important they may have missed during the course of the conversation.
Remember these questions and you’ll increase your chances of landing a great career!
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