Interviews are as useful for a candidate as they are for an interviewer because they allow the job seeker to learn a lot about a potential employer.
As a job seeker, the interview is your chance to get a feel for both the company and the job. You should treat these meetings as two-way conversations where you ask a lot of questions. At some point, most interviewers give candidates the chance to ask any question they want about the job or the company.
People naturally are concerned about what to ask. They worry about seeming high-maintenance, or that they’ll be judged negatively for asking a ‘dumb question’.
The following questions can both impress your interview and get you the information you need to figure out if this is the proper job for you.
“What separates good employees from great employees in this position?”
This question goes directly to the heart of what the potential employer is trying to find. Hiring supervisors aren’t interviewing applicants in the hopes of finding someone who will do an ordinary job; they’re trying to identify a candidate who will excel at the position. This question suggests that both you and the company are after the same thing: superior performance.
The response to this question can provide you with a nuanced view into what it’ll take to succeed in the position, allowing you to consider you’re likely able to do well.
“What are the biggest challenges for this position?”
This question is designed to get information you’d never see in a job description. Maybe you’ll find out about additional training expectations or you’ll have to work within very tight budget.
This question can also be an opening to talk about how you’ve approached comparable challenges in the past, which can be comforting to your interviewer. Be sure you’re not asking questions to tee up a response of your own, a real conversation of how you’d approach various difficulties can be truly useful for you both.
“What are the next steps in the process?”
This question provides you with a timeframe for when you can expect to hear back from the interviewer. If you don’t ask this question, you may end up in the dark, which can lead to agonizing about whether you got the job, or when you should follow-up.
It’s much better for your peace of mind if you know not to expect anything for a few weeks, rather than to sit there wondering and stressing out.