Job interviews are an excellent way for potential employees and employers to get to know one another. You should think of them as a two-way street: they’re assessing how well you’d perform in a role, while you should be determining whether the position and the company are a good fit for you.
Rather than being intimidated by a job interview, remember that you’ll be providing your services to the employer, likely for a considerable amount of time. You don’t want to take a job simply because the company offers it. Make sure that the organization’s values align with your own and that you believe you’ll enjoy the work.
When you answer questions in a job interview, most employers will ask you if you have questions. Asking questions is an opportunity for you to learn more about the role and the organization. Make the most of your time by jotting down a few questions you’d like to bring up to the employer ahead of time.
You may need to rephrase your questions depending on how much the employer explained, but having your inquiries ready ensures that you don’t forget anything important. You should try to ask your questions naturally by building off your conversation.
Your prospective employer has already spent some time discussing the available position and its responsibilities. Still, asking questions that clarify your tasks and any projects you’ll immediately be responsible for is essential. You can also use your time to learn more about performance measurements and short-term goals.
Good questions to ask about the position include:
Once you fully understand the role, you’ll be able to decide privately if it’s right for you.
Most employees don’t work individually; they’re part of a team that handles similar duties and responsibilities. While you may not meet your potential team members during a job interview, you can learn more about them by asking the right questions.
A few questions that can give you more insight into the team include:
Ideally, your interviewer will allow you to meet team members, especially those with whom you may collaborate regularly. While you may not have the time to get to know them well during an interview, you’ll at least have an idea of who they are and what their focus is.
Usually, the person interviewing you is also your potential boss. However, some companies structure their hiring process so that you meet with different individuals in multiple interviews. In either case, you should seek to learn more about your interviewer and how they came to join the organization.
Questions that allow you to understand the interviewer’s role include:
The interviewer will likely be happy to tell you about their experience. You can build on the conversation as they answer your questions if you’d like to learn more.
You should attempt to learn as much about the company as you can. However, be wary of asking questions easily searchable on the organization’s website or the news. Also, be careful not to pose questions that the interviewer previously covered.
Questions that let you learn about the company and how your role fits into the organization’s larger goals include the following:
Once you have enough information about the company, you can ask about the culture.
Asking about company culture will give you some insight into the organization’s values, but your interviewer isn’t likely to highlight any challenges. Keep in mind that you may not uncover the real working environment until you start your job.
A few questions that can help you understand the organizational culture include:
Be on the lookout for signs of potentially toxic workplace culture, like few opportunities for growth and development. If the interviewer mentions that employees often work overtime, carefully consider how much time you’re willing to spend on the job past working hours.
Once you have enough information to understand your potential role, the company, and the environment, you can end the interview. Make sure to thank the interviewer for their time. You can ask them whether there will be additional steps in the process and when they expect to make a decision.
After the interview, think carefully about your discussion. If the company decides to offer you the job, you’ll want to be ready with your decision.
At Cowen Partners, our 5-star executive recruiters are exceptionally skilled at delivering in-demand candidates, no matter the need and across all industries. Backed by a proven executive recruiting process, we have been the partner of choice for startups, corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and more, meeting unique and critical recruitment needs across the entire C-suite, including CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CIOs, CTOs, CHROs, VPs of sales, other VPs, directors, and several other leadership roles.
With our executive recruiters, you get senior partner-led searches, due diligence-run networking, meticulous candidate vetting, and so much more, all geared towards one goal — placing the very best talent as soon as possible, all while ensuring a seamless fit with your company culture, your big-picture objectives, and other factors. Plus, we have one of the highest candidate retention rates in the industry while consistently delivering world-class talent faster than the competition.
That’s how Cowen Partners has become a leading executive search firm nationwide, and it’s why our executive recruiters have a reputation for excellence and success.
We also invite you to continue exploring more executive recruiting insights from our team: