Interview Questions to Ask
Knowing what interview questions to ask is a critical part of interview preparation. Preparing for a job interview involves more than just being able to present your background to a hiring manager. Job interview preparation also involves knowing what questions to ask.
How many times have you been asked by a hiring manager if you have any questions? And, how many times have you found yourself saying:
"We've touched on all of my questions.
I really don't have any additional questions at this time."
The interview is over. Chances are you won't be invited back.
Change this outcome by using our 50 interview questions to ask, which start below! Then follow the links at the end of the page to get to your next installment. We even tell you what to listen for in the answers.
WHY IS THE POSITION OPEN?
It's a good idea to know why the position you're interviewing for is open. Did the last incumbent self destruct? Has the position been a revolving door? Or, did the last person get promoted? People do leave organizations all the time, so this shouldn't be held against the company. But, if the position has been open for a long time, or there's been a series of people who haven't succeeded, you'll need to probe to make sure this opportunity is for you!
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THE FUNCTION WITHIN THE COMPANY?
Is this a new position or has the position been part of the organization for a while? New positions can give you an opportunity to craft the position description around your strengths -- but they can also carry some risk. What seems like a good idea today can turn into the first job cut when times are tough. Make sure that you're comfortable with where this position fits in the organizational structure.
WHAT HAVE SOME OF THE MAJOR WINS/LOSSES BEEN IN THE RECENT PAST -- FOR THE FUNCTION AND/OR THE DEPARTMENT?
This question will give you a glimpse into the day to day workings of the department or function. Recent wins and losses will give you a backdrop to probe for why things worked -- and why they didn't. For the wins, what can be replicated in the future; for the losses, what was learned? Listen for political overtones here...if the wins/losses are tied to other internal departments, you'll be walking into a highly political organization. This is not a show stopper, but not everyone fares well in this kind of environment.
HOW IS THE FUNCTION VIEWED WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION? HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS POSITION IN THE ORGANIZATION?
Try to get a sense of whether you're joining a well respected organization internally and whether the function itself is valued. These issues become important for budget and resource allocations. If there are internal image issues, you need to know. Turn around situations can ultimately be great success stories. But, you need to decide if this environment suits you personally.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KEY OBJECTIVES FOR THE PERSON IN THIS POSITION OVER THE NEXT 6-12 MONTHS? ARE THERE BARRIERS TO ACHIEVING THE OBJECTIVES?
The hiring manager should be able to tell you about the key deliverables for the next 6-12 months. If he/she can't, you might want to think twice about joining the organization. A rudderless ship can set you up for failure. You don't want your boss to tell you 9 months in that although we really haven't set goals for you, we really expected more! You also want to get a realistic assessment of what some of the key challenges are going to be as you work to achieve your goals. Again, not a show stopping issue, but good information for you to understand what you're getting into.
Remember...if you don't have any interview questions to ask, the hiring manager will wonder just how interested you are in the opportunity. Our interview questions to ask provide some thought provoking ideas that will help you drill down on whether the position you're considering is right for you.
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