Never forget that a job interview is a two-way street. The questions you ask are as important as the questions you’re asked–so be prepared for both.
Ask questions that not only highlight your depth of knowledge but questions that show you are a savvy negotiator before negotiations even begin.
People fail to ask these 5 Critical Questions during an interview:
1. Ask about a typical day on the job including key players you’ll be interacting with frequently.
Often a cursory description of daily activities may be offered, but your interest is to get a clear understanding of the role or roles you would be expected to play and daily expectations.
Will you be expected to cover for an absent co-worker, cover calls during breaks, or be required (or expected) to attend company or charity events not held during the workday?
Who will you be expected to work with on key projects? Who will have ultimate decision making on joint projects? What people or departments will you need to depend on for critical information in order to do your job?
Listen between the lines and rephrase your question if it isn’t being answered directly.
2. Ask about the financial stability of any organization you are considering for employment.
Read, listen and investigate the financial reports of an organization before the interview. If an organization is having difficulties you’ll want to address them at that time.
Ask a direct question in a neutral tone that allows the interviewer to refute rumors or give reasonable explanations to negative news stories. This not only shows interest and initiative on your part, but subtly puts them on alert should anything happen after you accept a position.
If the rumors turn out to be true, you may have a bargaining chip if you are laid off due to financial difficulties or bankruptcy.
3. Ask what drives your immediate supervisor(s) crazy.
The key here is to fully grasp unacceptable behaviors that might result in poor reviews or even dismissal.
This is often a question about values. You might think that being a few minutes late is no big deal, but if your future boss considers “on time” as 30 minutes before the day really starts, you’ll be clashing in no time. It’s the small things that make for big issues and they often aren’t discovered until too late.
Listen closely to the answer and probe for expansion. Usually there is more than a single “unacceptable” behavior that drives a boss nuts, so uncover as many as possible.
If your values don’t match up significantly you’ll want to consider another place to work.
4. Ask permission to take notes during the interview.
This is more powerful than you might think. It not only shows your interest and respect but it might help an undirected, unprepared, or nervous interviewer stay on track.
If you find yourself with a “talker” who fails to either ask questions or allows you to ask questions, you may be able to slow them down if you gently interupt their monologue by saying you want to capture every point. Then ask a clarifying question that makes them stop and think. This is easier to accomplish if you are taking notes.
Try it. I once got a job simply because I asked permission to take notes.
5. Ask what qualities the most successful employees possess and what qualities the least successful person is lacking.
Pay attention. If the answer is “”drive or “attention to detail” to the first part of the question, you’ll want to know what “drive” means to them. Ask. Do the same for the negative qualities.
Your aim is to match expectations to reality before you consider accepting an offer of employment.
These are just five questions candidates fail to ask during an interview but certainly not all. What questions do you want answers to before deciding if this is a person or an organization you want to work with? Think about it.
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Find more tips on workplace communication in Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work– What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up!