The job search is a trying time. The interview process can be extremely nerve-wracking, exhausting and even monotonous. The scheduling with a recruiter is stressful. But you want to put yourself in the best workplace possible and set yourself on a good career path, so you always need to be aware of what your situation would be in the said workplace.
You want to make the interview memorable in a good way. You want the interviewer to look back and have your interview rise above all the others, but finding that balance between doing too much or not enough to be the ideal candidate can be challenging. However, you can use a straightforward trick to your advantage to push your interview to the top of any interviewer’s mind.
Usually, you’re the one receiving questions. While being able to answer common interview questions clearly and effectively is essential, that’s not what you’re here for. However, it’s time to flip the interview around. It’s time to interview the interviewer.
Keep reading for some great questions you can ask at the end of the interview to stand out in your next job interview process.
Related: Preparing for Showtime: The Job Interview
Questions about the company
Understanding how a company operates and how you will fit in is vital in choosing your job. These questions help inform you about expectations, company culture and how you can grow in your occupation.
While the purpose of these questions is to help you stand out above others, these questions also provide you with crucial information you need to know.
What is essential but not included in the job description? What are the biggest challenges and day-to-day responsibilities expected of new hires in the role you’re seeking? What are the essential company values you should emulate in your new position?
Asking these questions at the end of your interview shows that you are invested in the hiring process and are serious about pursuing the opportunity.
1. Can you describe the company culture and give an example of how it reveals itself in the workplace?
Company culture is a crucial factor when considering a job opportunity. So what is company culture?
Company culture refers to values and attitudes that comprise an organization’s social and psychological side. This might include employee and boss interaction, standard work practices and communication styles.
Understanding the culture allows you to understand many facets of job interactions and expectations, which influences attitude and morale throughout your work time. This is a great initial question to ask when considering what the workplace’s atmosphere will be like.
Related:How Does Company Culture Actually Lead to Success?
2. What are the company’s core values?
This is similar to company culture but can also give you insight into specific attributes that a company wants to promote in its products and employees. From just a few words to a simple mission statement, the answer to this question reveals the company’s motives and feelings related to the business and social world.
3. How does the company foster collaboration and teamwork?
Since almost every job requires some teamwork, understanding employee interactions and overseeing collaboration in a company is critical. Especially in a group, everybody needs to do their part to complete a project. This question directly addresses how companies positively influence teamwork.
This also addresses the problem of toxicity. Toxic workplaces are common. One in three employees leaves their workplace due to “workplace conflict.” This question can show you what the company does to foster a healthy and happy workplace.
Related: 15 Ways to Spot a Toxic Work Environment Before You Take the Job
4. How will this company evolve over the next five years?
This question shows that you have good foresight. Anybody who can look forward shows signs of leadership, and asking about the future demonstrates you have what it takes.
Still, the answer to this question can tell you how you’ll be able to grow alongside the company throughout your tenure.
Questions about the role
So far, most of the questions addressed are broader and give a general company overview. Sometimes you need to know the specifics. These questions about your role in the company and workplace can help you understand how you are expected to operate in your position.
5. What does success look like in this position?
This is great to start with when trying to understand your position. First, this demonstrates what you are expected to do in your role in that specific company. It can address what a typical day looks like or what your overall goals should be.
While a position description is basic, you also need to understand the unique things that make this job different because of the company it is in.
Second, this gives you a perspective on the hiring manager. The hiring manager is the person who is responsible for making the final decision on whether to hire you or not.
It’s vital to ask strategic and smart questions that can help you get a better understanding of the hiring manager’s expectations and priorities. These can help you demonstrate your interest in the position while giving you a standard to perform at.
Related: Chasing Success Is No Way to Achieve It
6. What is the size of my team?
This is similar to the question addressing teamwork but gets more into the details about your specific group or department. This question can give you a better understanding of your role and responsibilities in the position you are interviewing for.
7. What is the goal of my group?
Once again, this brings up the discussion of more group-oriented goals. This type of team-related questions implies that you are already willing to work with a group, which can impress interviewers. They can also show your ability to adapt and interest in working collaboratively.
8. Does this position offer opportunities for professional development?
This question indicates a level of foresight, as discussed before. Remember, these questions are not only to impress the interviewer and provide information for you but should also set you up for success.
Successful employees understand that new jobs are a two-way street: You help the company thrive with high-quality work, while your company and role should provide adequate professional development opportunities.
The answer to this question is crucial for your future, so understanding how a company will be successful and help you succeed is key to knowing what your position includes.
There are a few more questions that can help you end with a proper understanding of the company you are being interviewed for. While understanding broad and specifics is critical, questioning the interviewer themself can reveal two things.
First, the way you receive these answers can indicate how a company will treat you. Second, these answers can show the interviewer’s motives, which can also represent the company in question. Be sure to pay attention well, even if this is at the end of a lengthy interview.
9. What does a work-life balance look like for you?
This is one of the best questions you can ask, as it can have so many different answers, which is why it’s essential. So how does it help you?
The interviewer’s answer will often reflect how the company will use you in your work life. It will indicate how much pressure they will put on you for your position and how much they expect from you. This question can have a make-or-break answer.
You should develop your own philosophy on your work-life balance before expecting an answer. Understanding this will give you a metric to compare to when you receive your response. It will also help you identify your goals for your job and the rest of your life.
Related:Work-Life Balance Is Simple. To Succeed at Work, Get a Life.
10. What’s one of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on here?
This can be a quick example that shows what the company is excited about or what the interviewer knows about the company. This also indicates a level of company culture and the social side of things.
If a company is closed off by branch of work, an interviewer might not be in-tune or up-to-date with the recent developments, or might demonstrate distaste or disinterest in their work.
11. Has working for this company altered your original career path?
This question addresses a problem you might have revolving in your head: How will this affect my future? This goes back to the subject of professional development. How can this job affect my future growth?
The answer will not always have the same repercussions for your work life, but it can indicate how the company aims to put its employees in the best position for success. It can also show how the company desires growth in the individual employee.
12. What are the next steps in the recruitment process?
This is a great question to wrap up the interview. While an interviewer should always end with this, asking this question can again show foresight and impress the interviewer. It might also give them a smooth segway onto the next part of the interview that they’ve been trained to say, making it a more memorable interview for them.
Why is it important to ask great questions in an interview?
All of these questions provide you with avenues for success and information, but what are some of the other implications that might be a bit less obvious?
Can help you stand out as an applicant
Most interviews say that well-thought-out questions are rare from a candidate. Interviewers find that they don’t have to practice answering good questions because it’s uncommon to have any, even at the end of a job interview. And this is the first way you can stand out from your competition: by simply asking questions.
Displays genuine interest
Asking questions and follow-up questions shows that you have at least some level of interest in the company you are interviewing for. Asking deep, uncommon and key questions raises genuine interest, showing the interviewer that you genuinely care about the position you are applying for.
It shows that you know what you want in a job. This demonstrates the ability to think and plan ahead. This enthusiasm helps you stand out from candidates who are more under-prepared or have thought less about what they want their workplace to look like.
Demonstrates critical thinking
Asking these questions also demonstrates a level of critical thinking on your part. You want to take the initiative to understand how the company operates and how you can fit in. With questions like these, you demonstrate that you are strategic and thoughtful in your approach to work.
Can provide important information
While the purpose of these questions is to help you stand out above others, these questions also provide you with crucial information you need to know. These questions show that you are invested in the hiring and are serious about pursuing the opportunity.
It also allows you to propose any questions or concerns about the position or the company, which helps you decide whether to accept an offer. These help you get hired but pay attention to the answer as well. Listen to what they have to say, and maybe even impress them more with a well-thought-out response on the spot.
How to interpret the interviewer’s responses to your questions
As discussed, the interviewer’s answers and other forms of response can indicate how the company will treat you. If the interviewer can’t give succinct or direct answers to your questions, you may perceive the company as unprofessional or unprepared. If the interviewer dismisses your questions, the company may do the same in the workplace.
This is another factor to consider when directing these questions to your potential employer. The interview is a way to get a taste of what working for that company might be like. Use this to your advantage so that when you accept a position, it will be the best fit for you.
Moving forward: How can you use these questions in your next interview?
Remember that you also have a say in the job decision and that these questions provide critical insight into multiple aspects of the company you are looking at.
Preparation for any interview is required. You will rarely get a job by just “showing up” and “being yourself.” Maybe you do since you’re the perfect candidate, but you will usually need to conform in some way to the interviewer’s expected standards to receive a job offer from a company.
Practice asking some of these questions. Think about what you would hope for the answer to be for your specific situation. What would you turn down, what would you embrace and what could you work with?
You don’t want to just put up a front for the interviewer. You want to truly understand the nature and meaning of the questions you ask and the answers you receive. Research the company’s website, the position and the interviewer if possible. Sharpen your mind by practicing and preparing.
Check out Entrepreneur’s other resources for more details on job interviews and other topics.