One of the most common mistakes people make when preparing for an interview is treating it like it will be an investigation where the employer will ask all the questions and you (the job seeker) will frantically try to find the right answers. Instead, interviews should be treated like a conversation, where both you and the interviewer are asking questions to get to know one another and the opportunity at hand.
In this second installation of Smart Questions to Ask an Interviewer, we consulted with our team of experienced hiring managers to uncover the type of questions that impress recruiters and hiring managers. Asking these questions will also give you valuable information to help you decide whether the company and role are a good fit for you.
If you haven’t yet had the chance to read part 1, you can do so by clicking this link here.
“The interview is your time to uncover if the company’s culture fits the image of your ideal workplace or if it clashes with your work style. A harmonious culture fit means you and those around you will be happier, and more successful,” shared JoAnne Williams, President/CEO. You could also follow this question up with questions pertaining to the aspects of company culture that are most important to you. For example, you could ask: “What are some of the ways the company celebrates successes?”, or “What type of flexible work arrangements do people have?”
“Asking about the company’s goals will give you insight on their values and where the company is headed, which allows you to determine whether this is a place you would like to go as well,” shared Brandon Holland, Senior Regional Manager – S. California Multi-Family Division. This question also signifies your interest in committing to the company in the future.
Lauren Beardsley, National Director of Recruitment said, “Asking about in-house promotions will show the interviewer that you are thinking proactively about your future at the company and that you are driven to learn and grow.” Simultaneously, this allows you to gain insight on how the company handles position openings – do they recruit externally immediately, or do they turn to their current employees and evaluate if someone would be fit for a promotion into that role. If you’re looking to climb the ladder within a company, you’ll want to find one that openly shares that they promote from within.
A great follow up to the previous question, Juan Vasquez, Regional Maintenance Director – S. California suggested that, “asking an interviewer where others have grown after they held the position you are interviewing for will show them that you are enthusiastic about working hard to advance into new positions and roles.” This will also provide you with valuable insight on your future career options.
It’s always a good idea to know how quickly or how often your role expectations may change. If you like a steady role that will maintain predictable responsibilities, then it’s important to know if this role will provide that for you. If you are excited about change and taking on new tasks each month or year, then be sure to show the interviewer that you are adaptable and excited to take on whatever they need if that is the picture they paint in reply.
Nothing is worse than showing up to work on your first day unprepared. “Asking what you can do to get ready for your first day will show the interviewer you’re readiness to perform, and will help you make a great first impression on your supervisor and coworkers,” shared Joseph Valle, Regional Manager – N. California Multi-Family Division.
“Every company will have varied levels of expectations for the same titled positions, so it’s important to understand what will be expected of you up front,” said Marlo Brooks, Senior Regional Manager – N. California Multi-Family Division. Asking this question also shows the interviewer your eagerness to perform well and meet or exceed expectations.
“Getting a description of your potential future department team members will give you insight on the micro-culture within the organization that impacts you the most. Are they loud and rambunctious or nose-down focused all the time?” shared CiAnn Blue, Vice President – Texas. Asking about the team you will be working with will show the interviewer that you are already thinking about collaborating with your department while helping you decide whether it is a team you are willing and excited to work with.
Always finish your interview with questions that will relate to the next steps in the hiring process. Asking whether there is anything else you can provide will open the floor for the interviewer to request additional documents or portfolio items that will help you land that position.