Your list of questions that you should ask a job interviewer must be limited, as the interviewer has most likely scheduled a certain amount of time for each interview. In addition, being too aggressive and asking too many questions may make the interviewer feel like they are part of an interrogation rather than a relaxing open discussion regarding some key points of the company’s history or culture. The following are 4 key questions to engage the interviewer and present yourself as a candidate that has the initiative and drive to bring forth valuable skills to the organization.
1. What are some specific job duties performed in this role and what amount of time is approximately spent on each task? This is to determine if you truly feel that you would enjoy the position and/or be a good fit. A position posted as a “Manager” may actually spend very little time “managing” employees and far more time doing something that is not within your field of expertise such as accounting work. It may entail a lot of team projects when you prefer to work alone.
2. Are the methods and procedures currently in place in this department successful and if not, what challenges would need to be addressed by the person filling this role? This should be presented as a positive question and replied to in a positive manner. You are not asking about “problems” here, but simply challenges that you may be able to contribute to solving and/or developing and implementing new ideas. This is a great time to showcase your creativity and present your skill set. Be specific how you believe your previous experience relates to and could assist in this role.
3. What is the general philosophy of the CEO or Owner of the company regarding their operations?This will again assist you to determine if you will be a good fit for the position, your direct supervisor, and with the company as a whole. Many times this information is listed on the company’s website; however that is not always in line with what actually takes place throughout the organization. Hearing firsthand what the interviewer feels about the culture of the workplace can put a spotlight on any positive or negative aspects of the position. Are they a progressive and highly flexible company or are they a very on-point” and traditional functioning corporation?
4. What is the approximate timeline for making a decision, the start date for the position, and what method would the interviewer like you to follow when contacting the company for any updates on the search process or with any questions? It is important to leave the interview knowing when they plan to make a decision, what the start date will be, and how best to contact the interviewer with any questions. Following their directions will ensure that you begin your professional relationship on the right foot. Do not call frequently about the position status or ever try to bypass the chain of command in attempt to gain employment.