When getting ready for an interview, it is important to not only prepare yourself to answer the questions you may be asked, but also questions that you can ask the people who are interviewing you. Many job seekers get so excited about finally getting an interview opportunity that they forget that interviewing is a two-way street. Yes – you need to make sure that this company and job are a good fit for you! Otherwise, you’ll be going through the job search process all over again when you (or the company) realize that it just wasn’t a good fit.
But like with every other aspect of the job search process, the questions you ask during an interview can make a good or bad impression on the person with whom you are interviewing. First and foremost, asking no questions will leave a bad impression. Early on in the interview process, asking questions about salary, benefits, vacation time, dress code, holidays, etc., can come across as petty or self-interested.
Whenever I’ve interviewed for a position, I’ve always asked questions that enable me to connect with the interviewer by showing an interest in their personal story. The following questions will help you both connect with your interviewers, and also give you the type of insight you need to determine if this is the job for you.
- What brought you to this organization? It’s always interesting to hear what attracted someone else to a company. It gives you some insight into what’s important to them and how they view the company’s strengths and employment brand.
- How would you describe the company’s culture? The answer to this question will show you if the company is fun or stuffy; team oriented or every-man-for-himself; hardworking or laid back; creative or old school.
- What do you like about working here? This one is pretty self-explanatory – the answer will give you insight into what’s great about working at the company – identifying its strengths as an employer.
- What one thing would you change about the company? I love this question – it’s a tough one – but it should provide you with an idea of what the company could stand to improve on. You’ll get an honest answer or you’ll watch the interviewer fumble through it like a job seeker with the “greatest weaknesses” question. Either way – you’ll walk away with insight into what the company could do better.
Using these questions will help you connect with the people you are interviewing with and get the answers you need to make your decision should you get an offer. What other questions have you found important to ask in the interview process?
Mike Spinale is a corporate Human Resources leader at a healthcare information technology company located outside of Boston, Massachusetts and is an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University. He has over eight years of experience in HR and management including career counseling, recruitment, staffing, employment branding, and talent management. Mike has dedicated his HR career to modern views on the field – HR is not about the personnel files – it’s about bringing on the best talent, ensuring they’re in the right seat, and keeping them motivated and growing in their careers. In addition, Mike is the author of the CareerSpin blog where he offers advice and opinion on job search, personal & employment branding, recruiting, and HR. Mike is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Babson College. He is also a board member of the Metro-North Regional Employment Board, a board which sets workforce development policy for Boston’s Metro-North region, and an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Northeast Human Resources Association.