When we start preparing for an interview, most of us usually focus on getting the right answers to the questions asked by your potential employer. More often than not, we stand in front of the mirror and rehearse responding to the question: “Tell us more about yourself?”, ignoring the importance of the opposite (but just as vital) situation: what question should WE ask our future employer to find out what our future duties will be and who we are actually going to work with.
An interview is not just an opportunity for the HR manager to grill you and find out more about your professional skills and personal character. It is a chance for you to understand if this is the right job for you and get the answers to important questions, including: what should I know about this vacancy, about the company, and about the department where I will work potentially.
To help you take maximum advantage, we made a list of some key questions worth asking during an interview when you hear the words: “So, do you have any questions?” This list will help you get all the important boxes checked.
Questions about the position and the work:
What will be my main duties?
The first thing you should try to find out about your future work is what you will be doing and what your responsibilities will be. Most of the times, an employer will tell you about that without asking, but if you still have any doubts or if you’re not sure if you got it all right, you’d better ask.
What will be my routine daily/weekly tasks?
Apart from the main duties, a vacancy often involves routine tasks such as buying stationery or ordering water for the office. If you don’t want to be surprised, try to make them clear during the interview.
Is this a new position?
Many people think that getting hired for a brand new position is better than replacing someone else. If the vacancy is fresh out of the box, you can build your own plan and structure. Otherwise, you may have to follow the rules that are already in place and assume the duties as they are.
Whom will I report to immediately?
Before you accept a job offer, it is worth getting familiar with the company’s structure and hierarchy. Thus, you will know whom you should address with questions for help or advice in the future. Some companies have very strict subordination rules; therefore, it is a good idea to know your place from the very beginning.
Will I go on business trips and take part in parallel projects?
Job vacancy ads don’t always include information about additional activities related to a certain position. Still, business trips may be a major factor when making your decision about a potential offer – for some candidates, such trips are not an option. The same goes when it comes to taking part in parallel projects within the organization.
How do you evaluate success?
While in sales, all is clear, more or less, this may not always be the case in other fields such as marketing, for example. Every company may have its own way of evaluating their employees’ efficiency. You may focus on one aspect of the work, but then it may turn out that your manager uses other criteria to decide how successfully you’ve been doing. Therefore, it is better to know this and set the right priorities from the very beginning.
Can you please show me an example of a project that I will work on?
It is always good to get a glimpse into similar projects to find out what you will be required to do in the future.
What are the opportunities for promotion?
If the prospects of promotion are an important element of your career plans, you’d better make your expectations clear from the very beginning. Otherwise, you may lose your motivation in the future.
What are some of the challenges that the person in this position could face?
As they say, always hope for the best, but get ready for the worst. Therefore, if possible, it is best to prepare yourself in advance for the challenges that you may face at work.
Questions about the probation period:
What results do you expect from your new employee during the probation period?
To some extent, this question overlaps with the question about the assessment of efficiency, but it is more particular.
You should be aware of what will be expected from you in the near term and whether you will be able to meet these expectations.
What are the precise details of the probation period in your company?
Make sure you know how long the probation period lasts, what’s the payment during this period, and what obligations you will have towards the company and vice versa.
Questions about motivation:
What is the salary and how is it paid?
This is one of the most important questions during an interview, and pretty often, the amount of the salary is listed in the job ad. Still, it is worth clearing this detail out.
Is there a social package, and what does it include?
Currently, many companies offer various compensation packages for their employees. Therefore, the “perks” you get may affect your choice when you consider a job offer.
Do you pay overtime?
And do you have overtime at all? In any case, if a company pays for your overtime, this should be written down in your labour contract.
Do you offer any additional training?
Some companies may offer training that they pay for, including in foreign languages. A company may also pay part of the money for your professional qualification or further education.
What are the qualities and skills of your perfect candidate?
This question will help you compare yourself to the persona that the employer is looking for and find out how fit you are for this job.
Questions about the company:
What is the structure of your company?
This information may be publicly available on the company’s website. But if you still have any doubts or questions, you’d better get them cleared out.
What kind of contract will you sign with the employee?
Will it be a labour or a service contract? Ask about the terms and if there are any additional documents, you may need to provide.
Do you require signing an NDA?
Some companies, especially those in the IT industry, may require their staff to sign the so-called non-disclosure agreements.
Do you have a dress code?
Although many companies are turning their back on dress codes, allowing their employees to choose their own outfits, it is essential to find out the particular company’s policy in this area if you don’t want to feel awkward on your first day at work.
What are your company’s future development plans?
Just like recruiters want to know “how you see yourself in 5/10 years from now”, you, too, should be aware of the goals ahead of the company where you will potentially work. This will help you find out how they fit into your own goals and plans.
What is the working schedule, and can it be changed?
This is one of the main questions, along with the duties and payment details. Pretty often, candidates reject offers because of the busy or inconvenient working schedule.
Where will I work – in an open-space office or a separate office?
Many employees find it hard to work in open space offices. If you don’t feel comfortable, the chances are you will not be very productive at work.
What equipment will I have access to?
Does the company provide you with a business laptop, or should you use your own?
And last but not least:
When will I receive feedback?
If you don’t want to waste your time and nerves waiting for an answer that may be negative, it is best to set the timeframe straight away.
Of course, asking all these questions in a single interview is definitely not what we recommend. You will surely get part of the answers during the meeting with the HR manager, even without asking. Just make sure that, after the interview, there is an answer to each of them in your head. This way, you can be confident your interview was a success!
We wish you happy interview-going, and great job offers ahead!