You’ve done the work and researched the company as you prepare for your big interview with the great-sounding job. The outfit you want to wear to the big meeting is carefully laid out, examined for any stray threads or smudges, and you’ve practiced your best handshake and smile to make a great first impression.
Maybe you’ve even gone so far as to have someone give you some trial interview questions so you’re ready to talk about where you see yourself in five years, why you want this job and are ready to talk about your strengths and weaknesses.
Turns out, there’s one more set of questions you need to prepare: What will you ask your interviewer when given the chance?
Interviewers want to know you’ve given thought to the job and have done enough research about the company to know some basic information, but the opportunity to ask them questions shows how much you’ve learned and how invested you are in the role. It pays to have a few questions ready so you’re not fumbling or coming across as unprepared.
How often do you ask for employee feedback, and what do you do with the information provided?
Communication between management and employees used to be a one-way street, but those days are over. Employees want to know their feedback is welcomed and encouraged. Asking how often they solicit input from employees, and taking note of their response, will give you a sense of how welcomed their employees’ voices are, whether their concerns are prioritized and taken into consideration, and how much your voice will be heard if offered a position there. Asking what changes to the company have come as the direct result of employee feedback is a great follow-up, allowing the interviewer to provide specific examples of how vital feedback is — or they’ll be unable to answer, which is pretty telling in itself.
What is your onboarding process like?
This question sets you up for knowing how much support you’d have as a new employee as you get your bearings and start to learn about the company and your new job. Ideally, the interviewer will be able to provide you with specifics and details about the orientation and onboarding process, including how long it typically takes, who will be working with you as you go through it, opportunities to meet with other divisions within the company, etc. It also establishes how quickly an employee is expected to get comfortable and prepared to do their job, but also whether the expectation is reasonable given the support they’ll receive.
Who are the top performers in this company (or team) and what characteristics do they have in common?
The person sitting with you for the interview should be able to call out some people who have done an exceptional job, or at least are strong leaders on the team you’re looking to join. They should be able to provide at least some detail about what they do, how they’re good at their job and what makes them great. Asking for commonality shows that you’re interested in knowing what will make you a standout employee, but it also gives the interviewer a chance to show how well they know the employees as individuals and as workers. It’s also a chance to explain what is expected of employees and whether their demands are unreasonable — if someone is given credit for always taking on extra work, staying late, etc., be careful that you’re not walking into a job where people are taken for granted and punished for healthy boundaries.
Does the company have a mentorship program or educational opportunities?
It’s good to know upfront whether you’ll have ongoing support as you learn and grow into your position, but it’s also nice to know whether any additional training or learning opportunities are available as the years go by. Mentors are important, especially for young employees or those new to an industry, because they can be allies and provide guidance that a manager might not be able to. If you want to learn new skills, or maybe expand your skills, it’s good to know in advance if the company will support those efforts directly.
What’s your favorite thing about working here?
It’s an honest and personal question, but one that’s meaningful to ask. If someone’s been with a company for a while, they’ll know the ins and outs and should be able to pick out, easily, what makes them happy and keeps them around. Listen closely to what they tell you — does it sound sincere, or does it sound like something you’d read off a corporate internal email?
Starting a new job is exciting — Sterling Personnel can help you find a great one!
Be sure to review and research the company before the interview so you’re prepared to ask questions about the company, the industry, the competition and the position you’re applying for, but take the time to develop questions that will tell you more about what it’s really like to work there and the expectations placed on employees. After all, an interview is as much for you to find out if the company is where you’d like to work!
If things don’t go so well, Sterling Personnel can help you find a better fit. Take a look at the jobs we’re working to fill and then give us a call! Our recruiters will be happy to answer any and all questions and will work with you to get the process started.