Contributed by Mariana Ashley
Everyone with any interviewing experience knows that before an interview you must do some research. Look into the company or organization you are interviewing with. Learn their mission and their interests. Read about the position that is available. Study as much as you can about the bosses and supervisors. While most everyone knows to prepare for an interview, many still fail to prepare for one crucial part. At any interview an interviewer is going to ask if you have any questions. You should always have some prepared and educated questions to ask your employer. Looking for a job is a stressful time in any individual’s life.
But with the pressure to land the position and get the paycheck, many interviewees fail to remember that an interview is a two way process. You are interviewing your potential employer just as much as that potential employer is interviewing you. The following are five essential questions every interviewee should ask during an interview.
1. How does this position fit into the company’s long-term plans? This question opens up an important line of thought during an interview. With this an employer will recognize your interest in the company’s growth and future. A question like this can also help communicate to your potential employer that you are driven. You are interested in succeeding and excelling at this position and would like to understand your future place within the company. Moreover, this question opens up a general discussion of the company’s business goals and strategy. With this question you should try to be specific. Ask what the company has planned for the position in six months, a year, and five years. You can use this question to both show your interest in the company and gauge your employer’s interest in the company.
2. What does success in the position look like? While this question can be a little uncomfortable to approach at times, it is important that you gain an understanding of what the position you are interviewing for really entails. Asking what success is defined as for the position, helps you determine what kind of boss you are applying to. Listen to what the interview has to say about succeeding in that position to learn what kind of worker they specifically are looking for.
3. How would you describe your ideal candidate? This question asks your interviewer to envision you in the position he or she is describing. You can learn exactly what your interviewer is looking for in a candidate and then highlight the qualities you have that match. Let your interviewer explain specific qualities they are looking for and then take the opportunity to describe yourself performing those specific qualities. While this may sound a little corny, but it allows your potential employer to imagine you performing the job successfully. Furthermore, use this question as an opportunity for you to decide if you are truly compatible with the position you are interviewing for.
4. How do you expect this position to support you? As we all know, interviews are all about talking about yourself and selling yourself. This question allows the interviewer to take some of the spotlight. Your interviewer will appreciate the interest you have in their individual interests for the positions. This question helps translate to the interviewer that you are there to be his or her aid and support. You are interested in succeeding at this position for yourself and for others within the company. This can be particularly important for individuals applying to management and supervisory positions. When it is a position of power that is being interviewed for, potential employers like to know that you are comfortable working as a leader and that you are able to be led. This question communicates to your interviewer that you are willing to both learn and teach.
5. What is the biggest challenge facing the organization today? This broader minded question removes the conversation from specific details concerning the position available and moves to an exploration of the company’s strategies and business objectives. When an interviewee asks this question, it communicates an interest in the company as a whole as well as an interest in improvement and growth. With this you can see and discuss the larger picture at hand. Particularly important for managerial positions, this question demonstrates an interest in more than just the 9 to 5 aspects of the job. With this you display that you are interested in the company on a larger scale. Take this opportunity to explain how you might contribute to remedying this challenge. Of course, you do not want to sound condescending or big headed, but communicating some ideas for bettering the company will set you apart from others candidates.