Naturally, how you answer questions in an interview makes a big difference in how the process works out in the end for you. With so much focus in that area, however, sometimes we forget that what you ask in an interview counts a great deal as well! A well placed question shows engagement with and genuine interest in the position and company. Beyond that, your questions can also reveal more about the opportunity so you can more fully evaluate whether or not it’s a match for you.
What qualities are you looking for in a candidate?
This question typically seeks information that goes beyond the hard skills listed in the job advertisement, though sometimes it can also serve to highlight the most important hard skills required. The answer tells you more about the type of personality that would fit in, giving you valuable information about company and/or department culture.
Beyond culture and fitting in, however, there could be some key personality traits that this role tends to demand. For example, maybe this is a small business and they need a candidate for a bookkeeping role, but the individual must also be willing to do customer service in the retail department when the need arises and/or when bookkeeping is slow. Candidates aren’t wrong for not wanting to do this, especially if they really love their bookkeeping specialty. However, this personality trait is key to the success of the individual in this role.
What do you like most about working here?
The answer to this question can give great insight into what it is that keeps the employees engaged with the company. It could be something about the culture, about the opportunities for advancement, the people, or all of the above! Whatever the response, it can help you to determine if this organization has long-term potential for you.
What does a typical day look like in this role?
This question is most effective when directed toward the hiring manager—not someone in HR. While able to provide a plethora of information, the HR department typically isn’t as knowledgeable about the day-to-day details of a position (unless you’re interviewing for an HR position, of course).
If you receive a thoughtful answer on this, it gives great insight on what this position truly requires and entails. For example, maybe the job advertisement speaks of a bookkeeping component in the role. After asking this question, you may find that those skills are essential but the tasks actually make up a very small part of the role. Depending how excited you were to be working with financials, this could be good or bad news. Point being, job advertisements aren’t always an accurate reflection of what you’ll truly spend most days doing. It’s good to ask the question.
What are the next steps in this hiring process?
This shows engagement and it also lets you know how the timeframe looks. You’ll know roughly how long it will take for you to hear back on the next steps if you’re selected for them and also what those next steps would actually be.
Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist