I am sure we have all been there… experiencing that feeling of regret when we walk away from an interaction with someone that hasn’t gone as well as we had hoped. We tend to replay the conversation, thinking about what we should have said or should have asked but didn’t. This can be particularly frustrating following a job interview for a desirable position with a company we don’t know that much about. Regret can creep in right after an interview ends, an hour later, or in some cases, a few months after starting a new role. Regardless of the timeframe, most of us can say we have been left wishing we had asked a few more questions in our interviews. It can be extremely disappointing to start working in a new role only to find the environment, culture, management style and workload is nowhere near what you had expected. A few targeted questions during the interview could have made a huge difference.
As yourself: do you know what you’re signing up for?
When we typically prepare for an interview, we might do some desktop research to find out more about the company we are applying for a role with. We might check the LinkedIn profiles of the people who will be interviewing us, looking at their experience to gain context and an understanding of what their perspective may be. We think a lot about questions that may be asked of us, and prepare examples, even going so far as to structuring our responses in a certain way when answering the questions. But a step many candidates seem to miss, is thinking about quality questions to ask themselves! An interview is a two-way conversation, and as a candidate, you too are interviewing the potential organisation to ensure this is the right move and the right fit for you! The answers will help you, as a potential employee, gain insight into the organisation, how it is run, the working environment, management expectations and whether it is fast paced with multiple tasks on the go at once.
This is why it is so important that candidates also ask questions during an interview. It can give you greater insight into company values and culture, leadership styles and attributes, systems and processes and staff turnover. But what are the questions we should be asking?
Ask your interviewing panel questions like this…
I have prepared some questions potential candidates may like to consider for their next interview, to help determine if the role they are interviewing for is with a company they truly want to be a part of. If you are a hiring manager, it is so helpful to have answers to these questions pre-prepared, so you too have clarity around who you are looking for and you can clearly articulate your expectations from the get-go.
- Who is this role reporting to?
- How would you describe their management style?
- What behaviours or working style would work well in this team?
- What behaviours or working style would not be the best fit for this team?
- Do you have a formal or informal meeting structure?
- What are the key responsibilities of this role and how are they measured?
- Are there any critical issues or tasks to be addressed in the next 6-12 months?
- Why would someone be happy in the role?
- What is something a person in this role may get frustrated with?
- Is this a newly created role? If not, why did the last person leave?
- Is there flexibility/work life balance? What are your expectations around this?
- Fixed fee or billing? How does this affect your KPIs?
- What systems do you use?
- Are there established processes/precedents?
- Why do you feel this company has been successful?
- Why should someone join your organisation over others?
- Are there internal or external training programs that this role has access to?
- Are there clear pathways for professional progression? What are they?
As always, preparation is key. Always take the time to think about what you are looking for – whether you are a candidate or a hiring manager. Write down your questions so they stay clear in your mind. We often describe that first interview like a first date – not only should we be discussing our backgrounds (experience and relevant skills), but we should also be checking to ensure our values and expectations are aligned. If we have a match, the transition from candidate to employee will be so much smoother and better for both parties in the long run.
If you would like to discuss this topic further with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Photo by Anna Shvets