More stressful than Christmas shopping. More necessary than a Netflix account. The interview — to many, the most evil necessity.
For those who aren’t so inclined, the interview process feels like running against the wind — with an open parachute strapped to your back. But, for livelihood’s sake, we must be successful in interviews. Although interviews are primarily employers asking you questions and you giving your best answers, the questions that you ask can sway the interview as much as the answers that you give.
Here are some questions to ask to help you show your interviewers that you have what it takes. Just remember that the interview is a two-way street — you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. If you join their team, it should be in a mutually beneficial relationship.
1. Why is your company a good fit for me?
This question is spunky, so know your audience well before asking. It shows that you aren’t desperate and willing to settle for any job. You refuse to undersell yourself — you have something valuable to offer and you know how much you are worth. You want to grow and develop, and interviewers love to see that.
2. Why do you (the interviewer) like this company?
This puts them on the spot (now they can share in your pain). It also gives you the chance to learn from an insider’s perspective what is good about the company.
3. What don’t you like about this company (what is this company’s greatest flaw)?
This is another really gutsy question that should be used cautiously. I wouldn’t expect a very candid answer — most interviewers would want to remain politically correct and won’t be too honest. But, it gives you a chance to take control of the interview, and it can you show some insightful flaws in the company.
4. Do you see yourself staying with this company for a while?
This gives you an idea of the quality of employees and the company — does this company hire “keepers,” and does it keep the good hires around? Is this a transitional job, or a good career choice?
5. What are the top three traits that your best employees have in common?
This question should give you a glimpse into what the company would expect from you, and the kind of people who would thrive there. If they mention traits other than yours, don’t necessarily take this as an ultimate red flag — no company can operate with only one specific personality type; maybe they need what you have. But, this does give you a good indication of whether or not this would be a job that is up your alley.
6. What are the company’s highest goals for this year?
This question gives you an idea of the direction and ambition for the company. What are their goals? Are they something you can rally behind? Can you contribute to making those goals a reality? You don’t want to join a team half-heartedly. Half-hearted doesn’t stand out. Half-hearted doesn’t climb the business ladder because you aren’t fully engaged. Find a business whose goals you can get behind 110%.
7. How many employees have been brought in by other employees?
This question can give you an idea of the work environment. And the work environment is a significant factor in the quality of your work experience. Do people like it enough to bring their friends on board? If so, it’s probably a pleasant environment.
8. What would you expect from me in the first 90 days?
What better way to find out the company’s expectations, should they hire you, than to just ask directly! This shows initiative and interest in performing well. It also helps you be prepared, if you should get the job, to jump in with confidence.