Interviews often focus on companies. “Will you (the employee) be a good fit for this organization?” is a common question. However, interviews are a two-way street. You need to find out, “Is this organization a good fit for me?”
Many employers end an interview by inquiring, “Do you have any questions?” This is an opportunity for you to learn more about management styles and corporate culture. Don’t be shy, since finding the right position is key to your, and the company’s, success.
Use the list below as a resource to identify two or three questions you might ask. These examples assume you are speaking with your potential boss or supervisor. If you are interviewing with a hiring manager or an interviewing committee, you will need to change the wording slightly.
- How would you describe your ideal relationship with an employee?
- What should I expect from you as my manager?
- What would you expect from me as your employee?
- How would you describe your management style?
- How would your employees describe your management style?
- What is your preferred method of communication?
- How do you provide feedback to your employees?
- What is the process for employee evaluation and review?
- How are decisions made? By senior management? By committee?
- Is employee feedback valued? How does it occur?
- Is innovation and/or risk taking valued?
- What happens when an employee makes a mistake?
- What does your team do to handle stressful periods?
- How does your team celebrate success?
- How long has your team been in place?
- Why do employees leave this organization?
- Who are your role models?
- Who was your best boss? Why?
- What are your top three values?
- How do you people within the company view you?
And remember, everyone in an interview (both employees and employers) are on their best behavior. Any of the following could be signs of trouble ahead.
- Unwillingness to answer your questions.
- Rude or disrespectful behavior.
- Lack of self-awareness or difficulty with self-analysis.
- Overly glowing or off-the-charts positive remarks.
- Vague replies.
- Failure to provide specific examples.
- Signs of high turnover or conflict within the organization.
- Body language that suggests discomfort or dishonesty.
- A disconnect between your values and the company’s values.
Finally, ask if you can speak with a current or former employee. Plan to ask them a related series of questions. This is your chance to check the company’s references. If the interviewer seems uncomfortable with this request, or if your reference check uncovers a decidedly different set of answers, regarding those situations as additional red flags.
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