Monday, March 8, 2010

25 Interview Questions for Job Seeking Candidates

Many people approach job interviews with a deer-in-the-headlights “please don’t let me say anything stupid” mentality. And while that is understandable, no matter how many times career experts say otherwise, you should know and take advantage of the fact that the interview process also affords you, the candidate, the opportunity to suss out the company as well.

Know that trying to decide if the company is the right fit for you is just as important as the company trying to decide if you are a good fit for the company. Ill-fits help no one; they are costly for both the company and the candidate.

As any strategist, regardless of their area of expertise, will share with you, the weakest position to be in is to, ‘not know what you don’t know’. By asking the right questions, you can often discover information that will speak volumes in terms your ability to hone in and, at the very minimum, put you in the position of being able to identify that which you don’t but should know.

Once you learn how to ask the right kind of questions and scrutinize the answers, you will be in a far better position to decide if you are indeed a right fit for the company regardless of any forthcoming job offer. To vet the company culture properly, you may want to consider asking the following questions:
  1. Why is the position open?
  2. What can you tell me about the people with whom I will be working?
  3. What do you see as the ultimate goal of the department or team?
  4. What major problems are we facing right now in this department or position?
  5. To whom does the position report?
  6. What can you tell me about this executive’s management style?
  7. After you present my resume, when can I expect to hear from you regarding the status of this position? Who will make the final hiring decision?
  8. Can you describe, specifically, how the company navigates/balances work?
  9. Why do you enjoy working for this company?
  10. What attracted you to this organization?
  11. Can you describe the work environment here?
  12. What have you liked most about working here?
  13. What do you consider to be the organization’s strengths and weaknesses?
  14. What are the major concerns that need to be addressed immediately in this job?
  15. What challenges might I encounter if I take on this position?
  16. Is there a structured career path at the company?
  17. What is the organization’s plan for the next five years, and how does this department or division fit in?
  18. What would be a surprising but positive thing the new person could do in first 90 days?
  19. How are executives addressed by their subordinates?
  20. What are the organization’s three most important goals?
  21. How does the company support and promote personal and professional growth?
  22. What happened to the person who previously held this job?
  23. Do you have any concerns about my experience, education, skills?
  24. When top performers leave the company, why do they leave and where do they usually go?
  25. How many employee-initiated projects were approved last year?

The list above is certainly not exhaustive, but it can serve as a good starting point and I hope these questions help you get ready for your next job interview. If you have any other questions that you believe should be on the list, please let me know!