Most of us hate interviews. We overthink our answers. We criticize how we measure up to the company’s standards. Then when it’s done, we sit in self-loathing, wishing we could go back in time to answer differently. More recently, the tide has turned. More and more job-seekers are asking companies about their values and culture. The classic “how do they make you feel” therapy question is manifesting itself in the workplace.
The end of your interview is your opportunity to interview the company back. Why is it important to interview back?
- While we all want to avoid the awkwardness of staying in an interview longer than necessary, it’s more awkward ending up in a position or company that makes you feel gross. Interviewing the interviewer lets you learn about the company culture, expectations, support, and developmental opportunities. Knowing this helps you cross-reference with your own priorities, goals, and values. The last thing you want to do is restart the job search process soon after starting a new role (and gain a few grays because of it). TL;DR: asking questions avoids having to look for a better job soon after getting hired.
TIP: How do you know if a job is a good fit? Read our article: “Finding a Job that’s a Good Fit for You.”
- You impress the interviewer. It shows you’ve done your research. You look detail-oriented, prepared, and confident.
- You gain clarity and reflection. You should already have a list of your top priorities for a new job; this list is essential to having an effective career searchHowever, sometimes what we need is different from what we want. These nuances might only come up as you experience or hear about other options. Being exposed to different work environments, company cultures, or work values helps you understand your preferences in the long-run, without always having to get new positions to verify.
- You get a little bit of revenge by putting them in the hot seat, at least for a minute. *wink*
Now that we know the “why”, let’s imagine this. You’ve answered all the interviewer’s questions. Their last question to you is “do you have any questions for us?” Instead of rushing to end an awkward situation or coming up blank, ask some of these follow up questions to get a better understanding of the position and/or company.
- What gets you excited about your department?
- What are the top three most challenging factors about working in your organization/department?
- What type of skills are most beneficial to succeed here?
- How do you evaluate success in this role?
- How would you describe the company culture in three words?
Advancement/Opportunities for Growth
- Is this a new position? If not, why did the previous person leave?
- Do internal staff get promoted or choose to stay within the organization?
- How has this position changed over the last couple of years?
- How does the company foster employee growth?
- How would you describe your supervisory style?
- How do you as a supervisor help your employees grow?
- Provide an example of a time one of your employees needed assistance or correction.
- How do you show appreciation for your employees?
Pay attention to how these follow up questions are answered too, not just what is being said. And always ask for examples. If they expect specifics, you should too.
Always end your interview with this question: Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications or experience?
The last step of the interview process is reflection. Look at the answers you got and interview yourself.
- Do you still feel excited about the position?
- If the hiring manager interviewed you, do you see yourself working with this person? What vibe or energy do they bring?
- What reservations do you have and do they clash with your priorities and values?
- Did the interview committee have quick answers to your questions? And were these answers specific?
Remember that just like dating, job searching is about finding a good fit. So don’t settle. Advocate for yourself. Ask all the questions! And as always, give yourself credit for learning something new, putting yourself out there, and growing. I’m proud of you.
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Article written by Leticia Garay