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4 Effective Questions You Could Ask at a Job Interview

By: James Cummings

We often prepare ourselves to answer questions at a job interview; the usual strengths and weaknesses, why you want the job, the skills you would be bringing to the company and so on. Unfortunately, some candidates are so focused on preparing answers, they forget that they should ask questions too.

A job interview is a 50-50 negotiation process. You have as much power as your interviewer. While your potential employer is asking questions to determine your skills and personality, you should also prepare questions to know if the company is a right fit for you. One of the worst things that could happen to anyone is be unhappy at their place of work, and this can happen if you don’t do your homework before signing an offer letter.

More so, it wouldn’t tell well about you if the interviewers asked for questions and you stared back emptily at them. You would come off as unprofessional and unprepared. In order to help you establish a thorough job search and choose the right company, here are some questions you should ask your potential employers:

  1. How many people would you be working with?

Many organisations work in packets of teams. While some are large cohesive units, others are small and organised. It is good to have an idea of how many people you would be working with and perhaps their individual functions.

Some organisations employ a bureaucratic process for resolving issues which can take a long time. Other companies adopt a more agile system that tackles problems as quickly as they come. Knowing where you thrive best is a good indicator of which organisation you would easily fit into.

  1. What challenge(s) is the particular department/role experiencing?

There is a reason the company needs to fill that position. Whether it is to solve a problem or replace a previous staff, it is important to have an idea of what you are expected to accomplish. This allows you to prepare a plan for your first 60 days (should you accept the position). If you go blindly into a position simply because of its perks, you could encounter speed bumps along the way.

If the company is looking to fill a vacant role, find out why the previous employee left. Were they fired, why? What kind of challenges did they face? The answers could give you an insight into the new role.

  1. How does the company measure success?

According to Brendan of Open Host most companies evaluate their success by how much it takes them closer to the overall vision or objective. “We have e-commerce clients who aim to become a go-to site for certain apparel in a few years. During that time, their traffic growth and need for site upgrades indicate success towards their goal.”

Your idea of success may not be the same for a company. On the other hand, you can find out that it aligns exactly with your own success values. Whether it is measured individually or as a team, discovering their evaluation system is a helpful insight into an organisation’s operations.

  1. Ask the interviewer(s) what they enjoy about working at the company

This may seem unusual but it works very well. Of course, no interviewer will say anything bad about their company at an interview, but focus on the positive reasons they provide. Is it the regular training, or the positive work culture? Maybe it is the outstanding success and room for growth? Whichever reason, it should mean something to you in one way or the other.

Remember, you are also interviewing them to see if you should accept their offer, so a good inside information will suffice. Other questions can stem from the job itself, your direct line boss, company policies, the hiring process and so on. Be careful to stay away from remuneration unless asked. You should also be well prepared for this topic too.

Keep your questions brief and genuine. Don’t ask for the sake of asking, your overall company experience could depend on it. Good luck!