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Is the Job Right for You? Make Sure You Ask The Right Questions!

This is part one in a series of posts on how to identify whether or not a workplace would be a great fit for you. Stay tuned for part two!

There is a widely accepted notion that one of the ways to make a great impression on an interview is to have a prepared list of questions to ask your interviewer. But often, not enough consideration is given to what you should be asking to make sure the company impresses you. What’s the work environment like? What is it about their managing style that would make them a great fit for you? There is only so much you can learn from a job listing or a web site, so when a hiring manager asks if there’s anything you’d like to ask them, you should take advantage of the offer. Cultural fit is something our executive recruiters often speak with clients about when discussing potential candidates, but it is just as important for candidates to really think about whether or not a future place of employment will allow them to thrive. Asking the right questions can help you better determine whether or not the job is the right fit for you.

To find these answers, first ask about the company’s culture. Asking about the office dynamic not only shows that you’re invested in becoming an integral part of the team, but it also gives you an idea of whether or not you’d work well in that type of environment. It can also be helpful to discern what it is that people enjoy about working there and what the characteristics of the top employees are. Likewise, what are the company’s goals in the near future? What strategies do they plan to implement to achieve them? Should you decide the position is for you, asking these questions can help put your work into perspective. You should also consider asking about the company’s core values and how each team contributes to the overall whole.

Once you’ve developed a general idea of what the workplace environment would be like, you can start to ask specific questions about the position you are interviewing for. Questions like “What is the average tenure of someone in this department or this role?” and “How long does a professional usually spend in this position before advancing?” can help you better determine what your near future can look like in the company you’re interviewing with.

Other questions you could consider asking include:

  • What kind of projects will I be working on? Besides showing that you’re excited about the position and already thinking about your possible future responsibilities, this question can serve you in an interview by helping you become clearer on what the position exactly entails. More often than not, you can get sufficiently more detail about the position’s duties from the hiring manager than from the job listing that led you to the interview.
  • What are the dynamics of the team I would be joining? This question will show that you’re ready to connect with your potential coworkers and will give you an idea of what to expect from them. And since there are a variety of ways in which a team can work, having a heads up can be extremely helpful for your first few weeks—and for knowing whether or not you’d work well in that position.
  • How will my work be measured? Being clear on what is expected of you and how the quality of your work will be determined can help keep you on track as well as help you understand the standards your work will be held to.
  • How does my position contribute to the company’s values and overall purpose? It’s usually more satisfying and motivating to know how your tasks fit into the larger puzzle than to do them repetitively, without perspective. Asking this question can help you gain that perspective in addition to more information about the company itself.
  • What do you personally enjoy most about working here? Interviews can sometimes be very one-sided, so asking a question like this can help encourage the hiring manager to open up and shift the focus off of you for a bit. This question gives you a chance to glimpse into the life of someone who has most likely been there for some time and how he or she feels about the company as well as his or her position and duties. You can tell a lot, including whether a person actually likes working there, from their body language and answer.

These questions are all great ways to better get to know the company—and your possible position within it—while most likely impressing the hiring manager. Always remember to ask them reverently and never be demanding or invasive. The hiring manager is still deciding whether or not you’re the right fit for the job, just as you’re gauging whether or not the job is right for you.  Of course, you should also always research the company thoroughly before your interview to give your questions scope.

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