10 Questions to Ask Your Interviewer

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As every interview comes to an end, the tables turn and you get to ask the questions. A successful interview sets expectations on both sides. You want to get to know your employer just as much as they want to know you. Asking questions will show off your interest and preparation while also convincing your employer that you would fit in perfectly. But what questions should you ask your interviewer without coming across as an inexperienced fool?

These 10 questions to ask your interviewer will get you the job in no time.

1.  How would you describe the culture of the office?

Although you might think that interviews only assess whether you fit the company’s want ad, you should also use it to determine if it is a place where you will fit in. Anna Young, University of Richmond’s Assistant Director of Career Services, said, “This will help you to gather insider information that you might not be able to gain from the organization’s website or online research.” When you ask this question, pay attention to how the interviewer describes the environment. Make sure that it meets your expectations for the job and that you feel comfortable with the work environment they described.

2. What does success in this role look like?

Asking questions about the expected skills and responsibilities will show your interest as well as determining whether or not you make a good fit for the job. “Listen to the answer carefully and after they have finished, you have a perfect opportunity to remind them of the ideal qualities they mentioned that you have and to reiterate your sincere interest in joining the team,” said Rachel Brown, assistant provost for career services at George Washington University. In other words? This can only benefit you more.

3. What are the most important things you’d expect me to accomplish in the first month?

This question is key: It demonstrates commitment to the organization and it shows that you are already thinking ahead in terms of what you can contribute to the company. Young said, “Great candidates hit the ground running, find out how you will be expected to jump in and start contributing to the organization from day one.” You should also listen carefully to the answer, since they’ll tell you how they expect you to perform and what should be your focus in your work. If anything, you’ll already know what it takes to be one of the best employees.

4. What are the opportunities for growth and advancement?

“This can help you to understand the structure of the organization and if there are opportunities to move up and advance your career,” Young said. “If you’re especially hoping to find a great organization and stay there for a while, find out if there are ways you can move around into different roles.” This question highlights your ambition and commitment to learn and gain experience from the company. It never hurts to further communicate how eager you are and how you’re the opposite of a lazy sloth.

 5. What are your goals as a company and where are you headed in the next 5-10 years?

Interviews are a two-way street, and you have to see if the company’s future goals align with yours. “Asking questions about professional development is positive, as is questioning the ambition, vision and strategy of the company,” said Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo CEO of Centrico Digital, a Latin American business. Showing that you are invested in the job and thinking about how its direction could influence your experience will make you stand out from the rest of interviewees. Need I say more?

6. What have you enjoyed the most about working here?

Turn the formal mode off and connect on a more personal level with your interviewer. Their answer will give you a sneak peak into how fulfilled they feel in regards to their professional career. Do they take a while thinking of ways to answer your question? Or do they go on and on about their accomplishments and experiences? Knowing how employees feel about their job will help you know if you should stick around or hit the road (after stealing a donut from the break room). After all, you want to be working in a place where people feel happy doing what they love to do most.

7. What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?

“Many times interviewees talk a lot about what they could gain if offered the job and how it would help them advance,” Young said. “However the interviewer is always looking to see how a candidate will add to their company and help them grow.” Figure out if you are the missing piece to their puzzle, AKA the person they’re just dying to hire.

8. I’ve read about the company’s founding, but can you tell me more about ___?

“The best questions students should ask in an interview are questions that show you have done your research,” Brown said. For any interview, you should know the company inside out. The more you research, the more you will understand the position and the better you’ll be able to answer their questions. Brown also recommends asking about specific details about position for which you are interviewing. This way, you’ll show that you prepared for the interview. You wouldn’t walk into an exam without thoroughly prepping, right?

9. How does the company respond to conflicts?

No matter how much research you conduct, there are certain answers that you can’t gather from an organization’s website. Conflict resolution tops the list. Asking about how the company deals with problems will give you an idea of the work environment. But most importantly, asking this question will shed light in your willingness to deal with problems professionally, without disturbing the company’s development.

 10. What are the next steps in this process?

Last but not least, this question makes a great closer. Young said, “If they haven’t already shared this information, it’s important to ask about their timeline so you’re aware of when you could be notified of a second interview or a potential offer.” Not only will you restate your interest in moving forward within the application process, but it will also encourage your interviewer to let you know how many people are running for the job, or if any further tasks are required from you.

Maria Clara is a sophomore at Boston College, studying Communications and Sociology. She is Ecuadorian, adores listening to live music, making collages and lives off of ice cream and avocados.

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