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Questions You Should Ask During an Interview

Questions You Should Ask During an Interview |

Questions You Should Ask During an Interview

Job interviews are one of the toughest challenges for job seekers. You need to effectively answer any question the interviewer throws at you. And, you must also which questions to ask during an interview. In one of her blog posts, leading career expert Alison Doyle shares, “Asking very specific questions…will allow you to impress your potential employer with your knowledge and interest in the industry while also determining if this is the right job for you.”

What happens if you fail to ask questions the interviewer expects to hear? The interviewer may determine that you: A) either don’t fully understand the job you’re applying for, or B) that you’re not all that interested and hire someone else. To ensure that you ask the right questions at the job interview, you must begin with some preparation.


Preparing the Job Interview Questions You Will Ask

When you sit down to write the questions you intend to ask during your interview, you need a solid strategy with clearly defined goals. There are two goals to keep in mind when writing your questions:


  • Interview the Interviewer about the position and company culture
  • The questions you should never ask during an interview


Interview the Interviewer about the Position and Company Culture

One of the easiest things to forget when preparing for an interview is that it’s a two-way street. You’re not participating in the interview process just so the interviewer can determine if you’re the best candidate for the job, you’re also there to ask the interviewer questions that will help determine if the company culture is a good fit for you.

The questions you ask should help you to:

  • Develop a clear picture of what the company is about
  • Its work culture
  • Values
  • The kind of work you’ll actually be doing

When listening to the responses to these questions, you should ask yourself if the interviewer’s response is a good fit for you.

If the job has a great salary and benefits, but ends up being a poor fit, you’ll be miserable. It’s much better to be choosy and accept an offer from a company that’s a good fit for you. Good questions like the ones below will help you determine if the company is a good fit for you.


15 Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

  • How would you describe what this job is about?
  • What is the management style of this company?
  • Is this a new position? If so, why was it created?
  • If this is not a new position, how did the last person succeed?
  • What are the company’s plans for growth over the next few years?
  • How would you describe a typical day in the life of (position title) at this company?
  • Who would I report to if hired? Will I be able to meet that person if I am hired?
  • What are the critical skills needed for this position?
  • If hired, will I qualify for education and training?
  • Do you have any new products?
  • What are the biggest challenges I’ll face in this position?
  • What about the people I’ll be working with?
  • Do you have any reservations about hiring me? If so, what are they?
  • What kind of background is the best fit for this position?
  • How would you describe this company’s values?


How Would You Describe What This Job is About?

When you ask this question, the interviewer’s response will give you insight into the role(s) you will be playing, if hired. You may discover aspects of the job not covered in the job description or during the interview itself. This could become a deciding factor in whether you choose to accept an offer or not.

For example, let’s say that you’re interviewing for a position as Marketing Manager. When you ask the interviewer to describe the job for you, you discover that one of your day-to-day responsibilities will be to post original, viral content to five different social media channels six days a week. As a Marketing Manager, you’re not typically responsible for personally posting social media content. This could be a deal breaker for you, even if you receive an offer from the company, since this is a responsibility usually assigned to a content marketing specialist.


What is the Management Style of this Company?

This question aims to give you details about how things work at this company. Companies that are poorly organized and managed may have difficulty answering this question, or may dismiss it with a meaningless answer that may raise even more questions. Listen carefully to how the interviewer responds. The company may have its act together, but the management style may not be a good fit for you.

Managerial styles range from highly regimented, disciplined organizations like a US military operation to a laissez faire kind of management where basically everyone does what they want to do. The best fit for you depends largely upon your own personality, traits, and how you work best.


Is This a New Position? If So, Why Was It Created?

Questions like this give you insight into recent changes that may have taken place within the organization, such as the development of a new business unit, a new product line, or the implementation of a new way of doing things. The interviewer’s response to this question can help you to see what kinds of challenges and the level of difficulty to expect in the position.

You may find that it will be up to you to define the roles and responsibilities of the position and establish it as an extension of their current business structure.


If This is not a New Position, How Did the Previous Person Succeed?

By asking this question, you may discover that the previous person who held the position wasn’t capable of adequately performing its duties. It’s also possible that the position evolved in ways that were beyond the capability of the person who held the job before it was available.

When listening to the response to this question, keep an ear out for anything that may throw a red flag, such as a short term of employment by the previous holder of the job or clues that suggest a capricious, erratic style of management that may be more than you care to deal with.

If an interviewer brags about how they let the former employee go, that’s a red flag, too. It indicates that the management may have little regard for its employees and will fire virtually anyone for little or no reason at all.


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What Are The Company's Plans for Growth Over the Next Few Years? | Vertical Media Solutions


What are the Company’s Plans for Growth Over the Next Few Years?

At its core, this question is really about finding out what kind of business strategy the company has in place. Are they actively pursuing growth, or are they riding the wave of past success? Companies with clearly defined growth strategies are generally happy to talk about them. By asking this question, you also show interest in what the company is doing and where it’s going.


How Would You Describe a Day in the Life of (Position Title)?

This is another question with the goal of revealing insights into what the job you’re interviewing for might be like if you’re hired. With it, you will get a clear picture of what the job entails and what’s expected of you. It’s also a question that can help link your skills directly to the description the interviewer shares, boosting your chances of success at getting the job.


Who Would I Report To If Hired? Will I Be Able to Meet That Person Before I Am Hired?

With this question, you are learning exactly where you will fit into the company’s organizational hierarchy. Your job title may have keywords that indicate a mid-level or higher position, but that’s not always the case. By learning who you will answer to and their job title, you will see clearly where you fit and how much influence your efforts will have on business operations.


What are the Critical Skills Needed for This Position?

Asking this question will reveal what the company sees as ‘gotta-have’ skills and qualifications for the position. If you hear any critical skills or qualifications you lack, now is the time to draw attention to them. This is an opportunity to talk about the skill you lack and show that you are willing and able to learn those new skills. By asking this question, you may also learn that, because of your strong skills in other areas, they will pay to get you the additional education and training you need to learn the critical skill set you don’t yet have.


If Hired, Will I Qualify for Education or Training?

This may not be a critically important question for everyone. For job candidates that lack a critical skill or two, it may be the deciding factor as to whether they will accept an offer after the interview or not. This often depends on the nature of the education and training, and how much it will cost.


Do You Have Any New Products?

This question aims to give you further insight into what the business is doing to grow and how they are doing it. Follow-up questions, such as ‘Why did you create this new product?’ and its success so far will allow you to see how the company innovates and brings new products to market. This could be an indicator of the vitality of the company and its growth potential.


What are the Biggest Challenges I’ll Face in This Position?

Before you accept any offer, it’s best to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. When you ask this question, you give the interviewer the opportunity to discuss what previous people that held the position struggled with and how they tried to meet those challenges. Turnover in the position may indicate a particularly difficult problem that you may or may not be able to solve, such as jump-starting business growth in the midst of reduced demand that plagues the entire industry.


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What About the People I'll Be Working With? | Vertical Media Solutions


What About the People I’ll be Working With?

Your aim with this question is to learn more about the people you’ll be dealing with on a daily basis and what they are like. The key is to listen for bland statements that don’t really say anything about those people or a statement that’s dismissive. If the interviewer responds in this manner, you may want to ask more pointed questions about the people you’ll be working with. Pay attention to how the interviewer reacts and responds. You may be getting set up to walk into a hornet’s nest of dysfunction that quickly leads to high stress and another job search.


Do You Have any Reservations about Hiring Me? If So, What are They?

This question gives the interviewer an opportunity to directly address any concerns about your overall fit for the job. You may be well qualified, but the people you will deal with are gruff and abrupt. You may be a sensitive person who tends to take things to heart, even when it’s just ‘business as usual’. The interviewer may see this and will welcome the opportunity to talk with you in more detail about those concerns.


What Kind of Background is the Best Fit for This Position?

When you ask this question, the interviewer will respond with what they have learned about the position and the professional backgrounds best suited for it. While your background doesn’t have to be an exact match, there should be significant overlap in key areas that the company has found to be indicators of job success in employees who have held the position. If you lack key skills and qualifications, now is the time to ask more questions and learn why the company is interviewing you for the position. You may find that they have had a difficult time filling the position and will work with you to strengthen your weak areas.


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Questions You Should NEVER Ask During an Interview | Vertical Media Solutions

Questions You Should NEVER Ask During an Interview

This article wouldn’t be complete without talking about the questions you shouldn’t ask when being interviewed. In this section, we’ll discuss the general types of questions you should avoid asking at any job interview.


Never Ask Questions about Yourself

“Me’ questions are consistently a huge turnoff to interviewers. When you ask questions like “How much will I be paid?” and “What kinds of benefits will I get?”, you send a clear message to the company that you’re seeking the job for purely personal reasons, with little or no regard for what the company will need from you. Wait until after you’re hired to ask these kinds of questions.


Avoid Asking “Yes or No” Questions

These kinds of questions are mostly useless. Yes/no questions make it easy for the interviewer to respond in a way that won’t give you the information you were asking for in the question. For example, instead of asking, “Do you schedule production on a weekly basis?”, ask “How do you schedule your production?” and let the interviewer answer. The information gathered from the response will be a lot more meaningful that a mere ‘yes’ or ‘no’ can ever be.


Never Ask What the Company Does

Seriously, if you never even bothered researching the company, why are you being interviewed? When you arrive for an interview, you should already know what the company does, how it does it, and why. Most of the time, this information can be found on the company’s website. If you ask this question during the interview, you can bet the interviewer will ask herself, “Why is this guy here? He doesn’t even know what we do!”


Avoid Asking Complex, Multi-part Questions

A single question that is actually made up of multiple smaller questions can be difficult for anyone to answer. By asking a complex question, you’re putting the interviewer on the spot. This may make him uncomfortable as he takes the time to try and figure out exactly what you were asking so he can respond. If you think of a complex question that you must ask, break it down into the simple questions that it’s comprised of and ask those instead.


Don’t Get Too Personal

During the interview, you may feel a genuine connection to the interviewer, which is great! They probably feel that, too. However, you can destroy that connection in a flash with a question that is too personal. Questions about personal beliefs and values, family, where they live, etc., are off-limits during the interview. Once you’re hired, you may want to reach out to the interviewer, if it’s appropriate, but definitely not before.


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Ace the Interview | Vertical Media Solutions


Ace the Interview with the Right Questions

Now that you know what kinds of questions to ask and which ones to avoid, you’re ready to write your own questions to ask. Well-written, specific questions will go a long way toward helping you to ace that interview.

Whether you live in Michigan or around the country, the employment consultants at Vertical Media Solutions can guide you toward a successful career move. Our personalized interview preparation services are designed to improve your confidence and put your best foot forward. Learn how we can help today: 616-631-4300.


Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with new information and expanded details in the original content.

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