Getting ready for an interview should include preparing questions, not just answers. Amy Hoover, president of TalentZoo, says “It’s expected- and if you don’t ask at least two questions, you will appear disinterested, or worse, less intelligent and engaged than a prospective employer would like.” So, what questions will demonstrate your enthusiasm and knowledge about the space? And what questions will actually help you further assess how good of a fit this job might be? Here are some ideas.
How has this position evolved since it was created?
The history of the role will tell you something about the history of the company, how they deal with change, and perhaps what it takes to be successful in this position. Are you expected to be a change agent or fit into an existing mold? This question might also give you a sense of what opportunities there are for professional development and advancement, as you might learn what past employees in this position have gone on to do.
Can you tell me a little about the team I would be working with?
This is a great way to ask about the company culture without coming right out and asking about it, which might help to avoid garnering a stock answer about picnics and casual Fridays. You may learn a bit about how the team communicates and what sort of community exists, as well as pick up some helpful tips about how to work with those individuals should you end up getting the job.
How do you evaluate success in this role and at this company?
This question demonstrates your desire to perform well and can yield helpful information on how to frame your achievements. The hiring manager may communicate that while creativity and innovation are highly valued, the management cares most about community growth and engagement. This information can help you be strategic about the rest of the interview process. If you meet with someone in leadership, you can mention how you grew your company’s Twitter following in your last role.
Do you see any gaps in my skills or qualifications that I need to fill?
This is a great and gutsy question to ask if you are prepared for an honest answer. It shows the interviewer that you are committed to improvement and self-awareness. You might ask this question of a trusted colleague or mentor ahead of time, so you can be prepared to respond, without defensiveness, and demonstrate understanding and a plan to gain those skills and experience.
It’s always good to prepare more questions than you may actually ask in case any get answered during the course of the conversation. Seize your moment to listen, learn and let someone else to do the talking.
Chaloner, founded in 1979 as Chaloner Associates, is a national executive search firm that focuses on recruiting mid- to senior-level communications, public relations, marketing and investor relations professionals.