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Unlocking the Secrets of a Successful Interview




No matter how much power you might feel like employers hold in the situation, a job interview isn’t just a chance for the hiring manager to grill you—it’s your opportunity to sniff out whether a position would be as great for you as you would be for the position. So it’s vital to ask some questions of your own. And for those on the job market, you understand it can feel like a job to look for a job…so it is important to make the most of valuable interview opportunity.

What do you want to know about the role? The company? The department? The team? The person interviewing you who may be your future boss, coworker, or mid-afternoon coffee buddy?

 

To get you thinking, our team at TalentFund has put together a list of the best questions to ask in an interview. We definitely don’t suggest asking all of them rapid-fire—some of this stuff will be covered during the course of your discussion, and you’ll have specific questions about any given job or workplace.

 

Top tips for asking an employer questions in a job interview

 

Before we get to the list, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  • Ask questions of value! Interviews are typically limited in time - use your time & opportunity wisely. Our best interviews happen when candidates use the information they have been provided or do additional research to come up with meaningful questions that help the candidate better understand the organization and opportunity and also show that they've done some research and know their stuff.

  • While it may sound basic, it happens…too often! Don’t say you have no questions. You probably already know that whether you’re stressed or relaxed, whether you think you’ve fumbled the conversation badly or you’ve got this job in the bag, the worst thing you could say is, “Nope, I’m good.”

  • Be flexible. It’s OK (and encouraged) to jot down a few questions ahead of your interview, but don’t be afraid to deviate from the list if your questions have already been answered and/or if your discussion prompts a few more questions you’d like answered. Plus, you don’t want to sound like you’re reading the questions off some sort of internet list rather than having a real conversation.

  • Ask at least a few specific questions. Show you’re invested and you’ve been paying attention throughout the interview process by customizing your questions to the specific position and company—and reminding your interviewers of the background knowledge and experience you bring to the role.

  • Don’t just ask questions at the end. Interviews work best when they’re a conversation, so don’t be afraid to pose questions when it makes sense throughout the conversation.

  • Ask questions you really want to know the answers to. Don’t only ask questions you think will impress your interviewer. With a few exceptions (which we’ll cover) this is your chance to ask about the topics you’re really curious about—and will affect whether you even want the job. Maybe a project that really excited you when you read the job description hasn’t come up during the interview. Perhaps it’s not clear to you what the job actually entails, and you want to ask what a typical day looks like.

 

Best Questions to Ask During an Interview:


Questions About the Job:
  • What does a typical day or week look like in this role?

  • What are the most immediate projects that need to be addressed?

  • Can you show me examples of projects I’d be working on?

  • What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?

  • What attributes does someone need to have in order to be really successful in this position?

We encourage you to engage in specific questions relevant to the position, or role. Especially for more experienced or technical positions, there are certainly detailed questions that should be considered and included in the interview process!


Questions About Training and Professional Development:
  • What does your onboarding process look like?

  • What learning and professional development opportunities are available to your employees?

  • Will there be opportunities for stretch assignments where I can learn and use new skills?

  • Are there opportunities for advancement within the company?


Questions About How Success Will Be Evaluated:
  • What are the most important things you’d like to see someone accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job?

  • What are the performance expectations of this position over the first 12 months?

  • What is the performance review process like here? How often would I be formally reviewed?

  • What metrics or goals will my performance be evaluated against?


Questions About the Interviewer:
  • How long have you been with the company?

  • Has your role changed since you’ve been here?

  • What did you do before this?

  • Why did you come to this company?

  • What’s your favorite part about working here?


Questions About the Company:
  • I’ve read about the company’s founding, but can you tell me more about [another significant company development]?

  • What direction do you see this company heading in over the next few years?

  • What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?

  • What are the current goals that the company is focused on, and how does this team work to support hitting those goals?

  • What gets you most excited about the company’s future?


Questions About the Team:
  • Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?

  • Who will I work with most closely?

  • Who will I report to directly?

  • Can you tell me about my direct reports?

  • What are the team’s biggest strengths and challenges?


Questions About the Culture:
  • How would you describe the work environment here—is the work typically more collaborative or more independent?

  • How does the team form and maintain strong bonds?

  • Can you tell me about the last company event you did together?

  • What’s your favorite office tradition?


Questions About Next Steps:
  • What are the next steps in the interview process?

  • Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?

  • Can I answer any final questions for you?


Questions to Avoid:

While you want to make sure you have all the info you’d need before taking a job, some questions are better asked after you’ve gotten an offer, once you’ve started working, or never.

  • What does [Company] do exactly? (Or anything that shows you haven’t done your research.) Again, might be a basic one, but

  • When does my PTO kick in?

  • Can I take every Monday off during football season? (Go Chiefs!! 😊)

  • How “sensitive” are the people working here? Can they take a joke?

  • When do I start? (Or anything that comes across as presumptuous or cocky.)

 

Your interview is not just an evaluation of your fit for the job, but also an opportunity for you to evaluate if the job and company align with your career aspirations. With these questions in your toolkit, you're well-equipped to make the most out of your interview with TalentFund, your trusted partner in navigating the job market in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Good luck!

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