Key Questions to Ask in an Interview

I often find myself telling people that an interview is your opportunity to evaluate the organization, just as much it is their opportunity to evaluate you.  To do so, you need to come in prepared with questions to ask.  

Take some time to reflect on the factors that would make you want to accept or decline a position (not including money, vacation, or benefits).  For example, maybe you are looking for a fast-paced work environment.  Or maybe it’s imperative for you to take a job with an organization that supports young professionals and future growth. The questions you ask should get at the heart of these factors.  Here are few key questions to get you started:

1.             What is the communication style or culture of the team?

2.             What have others in this role gone on to do?

3.             What opportunities do you provide for professional development?

4.             What would you expect that I accomplish within the first 6 months on the job?

5.             What are you most proud of?

It’s always a good idea to brainstorm a large number of questions and then narrow them down as you decide what is most important.  Consider the different types of questions you might ask at different stages of the interview process.  For example, you may ask about culture in the first round phone or Skype interview and save the question about 6 month goals for a second or third round interview.  

Also consider what you may ask different people during the course of your interview and target your questions appropriately.  For example, your prospective colleagues or manager may be better poised to tell you about the team culture versus an HR manager who can share professional development opportunities.

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Keep in mind to always save questions about salary, benefits, and vacation for after you receive an offer.