5 questions job seekers should ask during an interview

5 questions job seekers should ask during an interview
You've qualified for an interview, good going!

If you've gotten far enough into the recruiting process that you're sitting down in front of a hiring manager, this is your shot to put the job in the bag.

The pressure is on, you're in the hot seat. This is your moment to shine. But hey, don't sweat it, because you're reading this post, so you're going to do just fine.

Remember, when it comes to interviewing, honesty is the best policy. Be confident in yourself and listen carefully to what you're being asked. When you have a question - ask it. It's true what they say - there is no such thing as a stupid question.

There are lots of great questions you can ask your interviewer. The list below is by no means comprehensive, but the following five questions should help you get some useful  information, while not making you out to be too nosy or simple.

1. Who will I be working with, what are they like? 


This is something you should always ask. When it comes down to it, understanding the team dynamic that you'll be working in is key to your potential success in the role. Asking this question might help the hiring manager think about you as part of the team - it will also bring up opportunities where you can add an experience story about a time working within a group or with people as they've described.

2. Who do you report to, how does the work I do impact your KPIs (key performance indicators)?


This only works if you're being interviewed by the manager you'll be working with. If this is the case, then it will tell you a bit more about the pressures and motivations of the person who is hiring you. It can also give you a strong impression of who your future boss is and how they handle pressure. If they can't explain what impact they're hoping you'll have it isn't a good sign.

3. What upcoming projects would I be working on, should I get the job?


There always specific projects on the go in any given department. Perhaps tax time is coming up... Understanding what you might be thrown into helps you gauge whether you want the job or not. It also tells you a bit more about why they are hiring. 

4. Was this position filled previously or is this a new position?


If the position was filled and is no longer there is probably a good reason. A good manager will answer this carefully but should provide some candor. If they fired someone, or the person quit, you might not get a straight answer in the interview, but use your intuition. If it is a new position, you have the chance to help build the role if you're hired. That's an exciting experience.  

5. What sort of processes are in place for the completion of X?


Whatever the X is, make it something relevant to the job you're applying for. Asking about your potential job shows you at least understand how X can be done or has been done somewhere else. It also shows a keen interest in the job and your specific responsibilities. The answer to your question might surprise you, too. You'd be surprised how often you'll receive a response like "We don't have a formal system in place for this." An answer like this is a prime opportunity for you to provide structure where there was none before. What question got you a job?

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Posted: Friday, 21 March 2014 - 11:39 AM