Questions to Ask Your Interviewer

The best interviews feel more like conversations – a 50-50 exchange between you and the interviewer. In a recent post, Chris Dottie, managing director for Hays Spain, summarized his tips for interviewing in four words: Ask the right questions. 

“By asking the right questions during your interview, you will be able to more easily decide whether the job and the company is the right opportunity for you. Asking questions is also key to demonstrating your interest in the role and convincing the interviewer that you would do the job well,” said Dottie.

Here are some to consider:

Is this a new position? If not, how has it evolved?

  • What you’ll learn: Whether and how the role has expanded over time to include modern practices and technology. You’ll also learn how much employees are allowed to shape their own roles – a sign of a culture that empowers employees.
  • What the question says about you: Reflects a positive attitude toward change and an interest in keeping pace with advances.

What is the career path for this position?

  • What you’ll learn: How talent is nurtured and promoted within the organization. 
  • What the question says about you: You have career ambitions; that you want to grow and learn.

Can you tell me about the previous employee in this role?

  • What you’ll learn: The skills and experience the position requires. The interviewer’s appraisal of your predecessor will help you gauge what you need to do to take the role to the next level.
  • What the question says about you: You want to able to hit the ground running and contribute quickly.

What does a typical day look like?

  • What you’ll learn: The day-to-day responsibilities and workflow of the position/department. 
  • What the question says about you: You want to visualize yourself in the role, compare it to previous positions and determine whether it’s the right fit for you.

Can you tell me more about the team?

  • What you’ll learn: Tenure, age, experience and history of the team. 
  • What the question says about you: Getting on with your colleagues is crucial to your job satisfaction. Seventy percent of workers say having friends at work is the most important element to a happy working life.

Who are the key clients/stakeholders?

  • What you’ll learn: Which departments and people you’ll liaise with most often. You can then decide whether your skillset is well-suited to the role.
  • What the question says about you: Understanding the bigger picture, the role of the team as a whole, its clients and how you fit in is important to you.

How does the team fit into the overall structure of the company?

  • What you’ll learn:  How the company is structured and key reporting relationships.
  • What the question says about you: Signals your interest in how various departments and teams work together to meet business goals for the organization’s long-term success.

What constitutes success for the team and the role?

  • What you’ll learn: How individual performance is measured, the organization’s priorities and what it expects from employees.
  • What the question says about you: You want to be clear about expectations for success and how your performance may be rewarded.  

What’s it like to work here?

  • What you’ll learn: A general idea of the company’s culture, expectations and productivity.
  • What the question says about you: Communicates your desire to work in a positive environment where you can be at your best.
What are the main challenges and opportunities the business/department faces?
  • What you’ll learn: How well-suited you are to helping resolve existing/future challenges.
  • What the question says about you: That you’re able to visualize yourself in the role and how you might contribute.

How long do employees usually stay?

  • What you’ll learn: How well employees are treated and the level of age diversity within the company.
  • What the question says about you: You are interested in a stable, strong organization that promotes from within.

How often will my performance be reviewed?

  • What you’ll learn: The company’s method for measuring and rewarding individual performance.
  • What the question says about you: You’re focused on building your career and that you welcome feedback. You want to know there’s a structured, proactive approach to assessing individual performance.

What training opportunities are available?

  • What you’ll learn: How important employee training and development are to the company culture and future success.
  • What the question says about you: You’re interested in acquiring new skills, which will benefit you and the organization. Access to adequate training is important for professional growth, no matter what stage of your career.