by Emma Berry
Job interviews are always intimidating (especially now that many of these are happening over the phone or video chat). You want to make the best first impression you possibly can.
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When you prepare for an interview there are always certain things you should research in advance. Obviously, you want to gain some background knowledge on the company and you want to prepare for any questions your interviewer may ask. However, there always comes that time in the interview where the interviewer says, “What questions do you have for me?”
So I’ve curated a list of eight questions to ask an interviewer that will impress them and help you determine whether or not the position is right for you. But before we dive into those questions, here are two general tips that will help you out:
- While you’re being interviewed, it would be helpful to take some notes on specific points your interviewer makes.
- This will help you curate questions that target certain talking points, and you’ll also be able to show how much you pay attention to detail.
- In addition, it’s always good to make the interviewer picture you in the role you’re applying for. I always ask questions where I can be the subject.
- For example, I always say “What do you think could be the biggest challenge that I will face in this role?” By incorporating myself within the question, it forces the interviewer to think about my specific qualifications and answer accordingly.
Here are 8 questions to ask an interviewer
1. How would you describe your company culture?
When I am researching a company, I love to dive deep into their company culture. I look on their website, I read reviews on Glassdoor, and I look at their social media. I want to work at a company that cares about its employees and creates a positive work environment. This is especially important to consider when you’re looking for your first job out of college.
Your first job normally is not going to be your dream job, and sometimes you might not even love the jobs you’re applying to. For many people, you have to work your way up and gain experience before you can get the role that you’ve been dreaming of. Applying to companies that have a strong company culture will completely change your outlook on your first job and overall give you a better experience.
In an interview, it’s important to pose this question because no one can speak better on the topic than an actual employee. You’ll be able to hear a lot of positive qualities about the company and get an idea of what life as an employee would be like.
This question is especially important to ask right now because with many people working from home you can’t go into the office and get a feel for the culture and environment.
2. What is your favorite part about working here?
This question is a good follow-up to the company culture question. Your interviewer will be able to dive into more specific details about their position and department. A lot of the time, you are interviewed by people who work in the specific department you’re applying for so you’ll be able to get a better idea of day-to-day life.
Another great thing about this question is that is strengthening the personal connection you’re making with your interviewer. You want to make a positive impression, and asking the interviewer about their individualized experience will show your genuine interest.
Similar to the last question, this question is especially important to ask you can’t go into the office and get a feel for the culture and environment.
3. What qualities are essential for success in this position?
This is a great question to ask because it gives you insight into what the company is struggling with.
For example, let’s say you are applying for an entry-level social media position and the interviewer responds with, “The main quality for success is open communication and the ability to share thoughts even if you don’t think other people in the room want to hear it or might disagree.” This answer could indicate that they are looking for a fresh pair of eyes to bring in a new perspective and that this person needs to be confident with the ideas they share because there might be people in the room who are opposed to change.
And from this answer, you can decide if this is a challenge that is going to motivate you or discourage you. If it’s going to motivate you, then this role might be for you. But if this doesn’t seem like something you would feel motivated by, you might find that maybe this role at this company isn’t the right fit for you.
4. What do you think could be the biggest challenge that I will face in this role?
This is my favorite question to ask in an interview. This gives the interviewer the chance to get a little more specific and give an answer based on your qualifications.
This also allows you to follow up and discuss how you might tackle or overcome the challenges. If you don’t know specifically how you’d tackle the challenge, you can talk about how you would love the chance to rise to the occasion or that you were challenged motivates you to work harder.
5. Who else will I be working with?
Showing interest in the other people you could potentially be working with shows that you’re a team player. Also, if you research people before you go in you’ll be able to show off how prepared you are.
For example, if you’re applying for a social media coordinator position you might be working under a “social media manager” or “social media strategist”. Your interviewer might say “oh you will be working closely with our social media manager” and you could respond “Is that Rebecca O’Donnell? I loved her blog post about Tips for Creating a Productive Social Media Schedule!”. It’ll just show how much thought and research you put in beforehand.
6. If you were to hire me, what would a typical day look like?
Although this is a fairly basic question, I like to ask it because job descriptions just give you a basic overview of the position. I want to hear about what I’ll be doing on a daily basis, and a great follow-up question is to ask about any training that might be involved in what you’re doing.
This is also a good time to ask questions about how the onboarding process looks like when your first day isn’t going to be in the office.
7. How do you help your team grow professionally?
I think this is an important question to ask if you know that the company wants to help its employees grow. A lot of companies now advertise that they really want to help their employees succeed and grow.
8. What are the next steps in the interview process?
This is such a basic question but really important to ask. Sometimes no one will tell you what the next steps are, and if you’re aware of what’s to come next it’ll make it easier for you to know when to follow-up.
It’s easy to forget that as an interviewee, you are also conducting your own interview with the company. Companies also want to leave a good impression because they want you to accept any potential job offer. It’s just as important to come prepared with questions to ask your interviewer as it is to come prepared to answer questions.
This is especially important to ask because there are so many unknowns (companies could be hiring and interviewing one day and the next day decide to freeze all hiring processes the next day) right now that having a timeline gives you a better idea of when you can touch base with the hiring company again.
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