Turn the Tables: How to Interview a Potential Employer
When the labor market is tight, there are more job openings than there are qualified candidates. Of course, that’s a great position to be in for a job seeker and means you can be more selective in your search. Employers are in the position of wanting to “sell” their openings and hire only the best. So, it’s up to you to ensure the offer is the right one for you – make sure you ask questions that will reveal the best fit and show you a path to meet your career goals.
Here are some suggestions to get you thinking about what to do and ask before you head into the interview:
- As usual, do your research on the company and learn as much about them as you can before your interview. Take it step further and find out who will be your boss and do some digging to find out more about him/her. Check out their social media presence. Look at what they post and what others post about them. See if you can get a sense of their interests – do you have anything in common? What’s the tone of the post? Do they seem happy and supportive or critical and negative?
- Ask about the biggest challenges this new role will face and what specific traits the employer thinks are important in order to be successful?
- Along the same lines, what key skills are needed? Asking this question shows that you’re thinking about your own skills and what it will take to succeed.
- Ask what accomplishments the boss will want to see during the first few months and how often you’ll receive feedback on how you’re doing.
- What does a typical day look like in this position? Even though the job description will mention the list of duties, you might want more details that will help you make a quick start when you get the job.
- Will you get additional training or education at this company? Do they support growth toward your own goals so you can advance within the company?
- Can you meet with some of your potential team members? It will be helpful to get a sense of who you’ll be working with and how you’ll fit into the team.
- Ask the hiring manager how long he/she has been working there. It’ll give you an idea of the company’s retention rate and how satisfied they are with the job and the company’s culture.
- What do they like about working there? You’re looking for signs that the company supports its employees and promotes a healthy work-life balance. You want to feel appreciated for your contributions and work in a positive environment.
- Ask if they have any questions or doubts about your ability to fulfill the role. Sometimes it’s hard to hear, but if you get some constructive criticism, it can help you move forward. If it’s something you’re not interested in changing, you know this job is not for you.
- Ask how often this position has turned over. It may give you some insight into whether there’s a problem with the supervisor or a team member.
- What’s the typical career path going forward from this job? If there’s no plan for where you go next, it may not be a company you’re interested in pursuing.
- You might also ask if they prefer to promote from within the company. You want them to be invested in your growth in terms of skills and leadership.
- What does the hiring manager think makes this company different from its competitors? You can certainly look up the competition online, but you may get a deeper perspective from someone on the inside.
- What are the biggest opportunities and challenges that your department is facing right now? You may uncover some issues that the industry is experiencing and what you can focus your skills on going forward.
- What is the next step in the hiring process? This shows you’re eager to move ahead and will give you a timeline for hiring so you can follow up appropriately.