Interviewing is a Two-Way Street

by Brian Skory

I always like to tell candidates that interviewing is a two-way street. What I mean by this is that the questions shouldn’t just be flowing from the interviewer to you. There are a lot of benefits to you asking questions in the interview as well. 

First of all, asking questions is an opportunity to signal to the interviewer that you’re actually interested in the role and the company. But possibly even more important, this is an opportunity for you to make sure that this is going to be a very good match. After all, you’re going to be married to this job 8-10 hours/day for some period of time, so you really don’t want to get this wrong. 

So, what are some great questions to ask during your interview? Here are a few of my favorites.

  1. “What do you like most about working here?” This is a great question because it can tell you so much. For example, does your potential boss actually enjoy his or her role? If not, that can have a very negative trickle-down effect on you. On the other hand, they may offer up a bunch of positives that you hadn’t even considered, which could give you the level of comfort needed that this could actually be a really good place for you.
  2. “What does success look like in this position and how do you measure it?” Another powerful question. This one will give you insight into all sorts of things including how well fleshed out the position is. How much thought has gone into what the specific deliverables are? Will you be able to demonstrably measure the value that you bring to the position? Or will your productivity simply be based on whim and fancy? These are heavy contributors to whether a job will be a good fit for you or not. I don’t see a lot of people asking this question, but it could make all the difference in the world.
  3. “Is there anything about my background or resume that makes you question whether I am a good fit for this position?” This one packs a double punch. First, it signals that you are serious about this job and conscientious enough to care if you are a good fit. Secondly, it’s a great way to clear up any possible misunderstandings about what you specifically bring to the table. Maybe one of the things that they need is someone with a degree of front-end experience, and despite not going into it much on your resume, you actually have worked quite a bit in that area. Had you not asked this question during the interview, you might have been passed up for someone who presumably had more front-end experience!
  4. (Bonus question) "What are your company’s values?" This question can bring to light all kinds of conversation that will give you valuable insight into the overall corporate culture. Or, it might result in an awkward pause as your interviewer stumbles to articulate something he or she has paid very little attention to. The intention of this question is not to trip up your interviewer, so I would advise caution in using this one, but it can be a useful question in helping to determine the culture of the company and to see if their values align with yours.

There are lots of other great questions that you can ask in an interview. Hopefully these examples will inspire some ideas. But even if you only ask these, they would take you a long way toward signaling interest in the role and ensuring that this job is a great fit for you. 

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