Questions to Ask in Your Next Interview
Your interview is scheduled, and you’re preparing for your conversation right now. It’s important to consider what you’ll be asked and how to respond, but another vital part of the interview is considering what you want to ask your interviewer. Be prepared with what you’d really like to know beforehand, and you’ll be able to learn a lot. Remember, you’re interviewing them as well. Is this a place you would enjoy working? Is this position one in which you’ll thrive?
1. Can you tell me about this company’s current culture and its vision for the next 5+ years?
The past two years have seen a major shift in the way people view their employment with many choosing to leave their jobs for something new. We’re not in the camp that believes a job has to give your existence meaning, but it is important your company’s culture matches your ideas, values, and stage of life. Where you work should facilitate what you want and learning about the culture will help you know if it is likely to align.
A company’s vision is their plan for the future, and in some ways, it can be just as important as culture. Just like you should have goals, a company should have goals. And those goals shouldn’t just be making money. A vision will help unite the organization, inspiring employees to work together. And just like with culture, it’s important the company’s vision resonates with you.
2. What’s your favorite part about working here, and what’s your least favorite part?
You can both laugh at this one, but it’s an opportunity to learn a little bit more about how that culture and vision question plays out in real life. If the interviewer tells you the company prides itself on creating a healthy work/life balance, but employees are working nights and weekends, it could be a red flag the company’s aspirations don’t align with reality. If they tell you they love the opportunities for volunteering and giving back is close to your heart, it could be a good indicator you will mesh well with organization.
3. How does training and onboarding work? Is there a formal process?
This question and its follow-up will help you get an idea of how organized the company is. A solid onboarding and training process will help you connect with your new coworkers, position, and the organization as a whole. Getting a good handle on your role and responsibilities can take anywhere from three to six months—it certainly doesn’t happen overnight, and a formal process for training and onboarding can give you a solid foundation to build on, helping you reach your goals more quickly.
4. What are the opportunities for growth?
It may feel like an odd question to ask when you haven’t been offered the role you’re interviewing for, but it’s important to know whether the company gives employees opportunities to regularly advance. You don’t want to start with an expectation that you will have a path to promotion only to be disappointed a year from now. You can also ask if the company offers any education or certification opportunities—anything that shows the organization is invested in their employee’s success and growth.
5. What are the next steps, and when can I expect to hear from you?
You’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t remember to ask this one. Knowing the company has a two-week review process will relieve you of stress if you don’t hear back in a few days. Getting a good handle on the timeline you can expect will help you prepare mentally for the next stage of the process: the follow-up and formal offer!
We’ve listed some important questions here, but think strategically about what you want to know—do you want to learn more about who you’ll report to? What your performance expectations are and how your performance will be evaluated? Why the last person who held your position is leaving or if this role is a new one? Consider what you want to know before deciding on where to invest your valuable time and energy. And good luck!