Questions to Ask in a Job Interview, Part 2 (Or How to Have your Cake and Eat it, too)

Last time we discussed some caveats around asking questions in a job interview, and we also covered questions related to your specific role. Today we’ll continue with the other categories, getting more “big picture” as we go.

The Team

You will obviously be curious about the folks you’ll be working with–either as peers or direct reports–since they can greatly influence your success in the future.

To learn more about them, you may want to ask questions similar to these:

– Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?

– What is the team’s greatest accomplishment lately? How did they achieve these goals?

– What is their biggest challenge moving forward?

The Manager

This person could have the single biggest impact not only on your performance, but also your ultimate job satisfaction. A Gallup poll of more 1 million employed U.S. workers concluded that the No. 1 reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss. You’ll want to know their leadership style, communication approach, and how they mentor and support their people.

You might ask them:

– How would you describe your management style?

– How do you set your people up for success?

– How do you incorporate your direct reports feedback into goals, milestones and day-to-day operations?

The Organization

Often I talk to clients who had the right role–but at the totally wrong place. To avoid this you want to learn about the organization’s mission, values, corporate culture, growth and development mindset–things that may matter to you for a good fit. For example, if continuous learning is a strong value for you, you would want to work for a company that has a strong talent-development focus.

Some questions you might ask could include:

– How would employees describe the company and its leaders? Its culture?

– What are the company’s biggest challenges moving forward? And how are they overcoming them?

– What are your plans for growth?

Next steps

When it’s time to wrap up the interview, you will want to make sure you know how to move forward.

Wrap up questions could include:

– Can I answer any final questions for you, or can I provide you with any other information?

– What’s the next step of this process, and when can I expect to hear from you?

You’ll want to be prepared by having your questions printed and handy. Carry a padfolio to the interview with several extra copies of your resume, your list of questions, your references, and a pad and pen. Not only can you write down the answers to the questions you ask, but you can also write down the names, titles and correct spelling of each person you talk to, so you’re ready for that thank you note.

So with your favorite questions ready, go ahead and have your cake. (While you’re at it, you can eat an extra slice for me.)

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