There are three reasons why you should prepare a list of questions:
- It tells the recruiter you take your career seriously, and want to know if this job truly will
be a good match for you
- It shows you took the time and effort to prepare
- It shows the recruiter you have the confidence to look at the interview as a two-way
street, instead of simply going there hoping they’ll hire you
Don’t ask questions just for the sake of asking questions, rather create a list of just five or
six questions that reflect what’s truly important to you; they should be questions that you
actually, sincerely want to have answered, and that will help you better determine if this job will
be a good match for you. Here are some examples:
- Why is this job open? If this is not a new job, what happened to the previous person
that was in this job?
- What characteristics are necessary for a person to succeed in this position? How is
- What’s currently the biggest challenge in this position?
- What opportunities does this department and/or company offer for advancement?
(This question is asked far too often, even if a person isn’t interested or capable of
advancement, but people ask because they think they should. Only ask this question
if advancement truly is important to you.)
- Who does this position report to? What is that person’s management style like?
If I’m offered a position, will I have the opportunity to first meet with this person?
(It's especially helpful to have an opportunity to meet your future manager to determine
if their personality is a fit for yours.)
- What is the hierarchy of this department, and how many people are in it?
- What’s the corporate culture like here? What’s the management style of the company?
- What is a typical day and month like in this position? How would you describe the
responsibilities of this position?
- Is travel a part of this position?
- What do you like about working at this company? What would you change about it?
- How quickly are you hoping to have this position filled?
- What else can I tell you about myself and my qualifications? (This is a great closing
By the way, here’s the worst question a candidate ever asked me: ‘How many breaks would I
get in a day?’
You may want to ask for an explanation of the benefits package, but remember, recruiters are
in the recruiting department, not the benefits department, and they may or may not be able to
answer this in great detail during this conversation.
It's generally not a good idea to ask about compensation during your first conversation or
interview with a company; this topic should be tackled later, if you're chosen to advance in
their interview process. Also, if you're going to interview with a company and it was arranged
for you by an outside recruiter, make sure you discuss with that recruiter how she would like
you to respond, if the company were to ask you about your compensation expectations.
Preparing Your Questions
- Select five or six of the questions that are important to you. Ideally your questions will
be printed by computer to show you did your homework and preparation in advance of
your appointment with them. If however you're not able to print your questions on
computer, make sure they're very neat, and that there are no mistakes; even upside
down, the recruiter may be able to see sloppiness or mistakes.
- The list of questions should be placed very neatly into a portfolio, along with several
hard copies of your resume. Also, make sure you have a pen in your portfolio.
- At some point the recruiter should ask if you have any questions, and you can respond
with a simple, ‘Yes, I do’, at which time you remove your list of questions. Don’t be afraid
to take notes throughout your interview, including during the time when you're asking
them questions. By the way, if the recruiter fails to ask this and you feel the interview is
approaching the end, you should tell them you have a few questions. This could
potentially create a sticky situation, however, because the recruiter may have already
determined you’re not a match for the position, and so may offer limited time for your
Questions You Should Ask During an Interview
Remember, interviewing is a two-way street!
We all know the purpose of a job interview is to determine how well you could integrate into a
company, and how successfully you could fill the role for which they’re hiring, but there's
another aspect of a job interview that few candidates realize: you should also be interviewing
them to determine if they're a match for you. If you’re serious about your career and not simply
looking for a job to help you get by, you should be asking very sincere questions of the
recruiter and hiring manager to help determine if they’re a fit for you.
More often than not, a candidate goes into an interview with the hope of simply being hired,
but this is no different than going on a first date, hoping the person will marry you. From your
perspective, the purpose of the interview should be to investigate the company to determine if
they and the job are a match for you and your career goals. It’s the employer’s opportunity to
see what makes you tick and what skills you bring to the table, and it’s your opportunity to see
if you can envision staying with this organization for a good length of time. Of course, you
shouldn’t turn this into a session in which you’re grilling the recruiter, but you should inquire
about the company, their expectations, and its culture. Really, is it a good fit for you?
Every candidate should come to an interview prepared with
questions; if he doesn’t, he may be looked at as a candidate
that doesn't have a solid thought process in terms of what
he's looking for and what his expectations are—or worse yet,
he doesn’t care what kind of job he gets. Remember, each
job you accept throughout your career becomes part of your
employment history, so make sure each step you take in
your career is a good one.
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