Interviewing for a new job is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. As you anticipate questions you will be asked, take some time to consider what YOU want to know about your prospective position and workplace. Think of it as a two-way interview; the company wants to ensure you are the best candidate for the job and you want to know that this is the best employer for your skills and aspirations.
Working full-time means spending the majority of your days at work, so it is important to find out as much as you can about the role you are interviewing for and how the position fits into your long-term career goals. Good questions to ask about the specific role include the following: Is this a newly created role or a replacement position? If it is a replacement position, why did the previous employee leave? What specific skills are you looking for? What responsibilities will I have? Can I see an example of the type of project I will work on? Is there a current job description? How does this role fit into the larger department or division?
Understanding how your job performance will be evaluated is critical to success in a new role. Asking questions about this in the job interview helps to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road, particularly in sales roles and positions with commissions or bonuses as part of the compensation package. Ask questions such as, Who will assess my performance? What criteria will I be measured on? How often will my performance be evaluated? How does my performance measurement impact compensation and future career opportunities?
Professional Development and Future Opportunities
Professional development opportunities can determine what direction your career takes, so it is important to identify the employer-supported continuing education, workshops, seminars and other professional development activities available for this position. Does the employer cover courses leading to a specific professional designation? What about college courses? If so, are there any exclusions or limitations? Are you expected to be a member of an association or organization? Is there a training or apprenticeship program? Are there opportunities to cross-train or job-shadow to learn about other roles within the organization? What should be done to prepare for the next step in the interview process? When will you be making your decision?
Good Questions Show Potential
The opportunity for job candidates to ask questions usually occurs at the end of an interview. Use this time to ask at least three to five questions of your interviewers, or more if time permits. Try to keep questions limited to those that couldn't be answered with an Internet search or visit to the company website. Asking questions of employers during interviews gives you a chance to show off your skills in communication, planning, and strategic thinking, and is one last opportunity to leave the employer with a favorable impression of you as a potential job candidate.
A former financial adviser with more than a decade of experience in personal finance and small business banking, Sarita Harbour is a professional writer specializing in personal finance, small business, technology, and content marketing techniques. Her writing appears online at sites such as Yahoo! Homes and Bob Vila. Harbour holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and computer science from the University of Guelph and the Personal Financial Planning designation from the Institute of Canadian Bankers.