6 Interview Questions to Determine if this Job is Right for You!
Jobseekers, especially first-timers, tend to approach interviews with a recruiter-oriented mindset, spending a lot of effort trying to match their skills and personality to the advertised position and to fulfil the company's needs.
It’s important to realise, though, that your job hunt should not only be about the company’s priorities, but yours as well. Given that you’ll be spending at least 8 to 9 hours in the office five days a week, you need to make sure that the company will be able to provide you in terms of professional growth and work satisfaction.
Here are some questions that you can ask during an interview to assess your compatibility with a company before you decide to take up a job offer.
“What are the key priorities in the first few months of the job?”
This question lets you exhibit your enthusiasm for the job, and at the same time, find out more about what you’ll be facing once you’re on board.
You may have already seen the list of responsibilities mentioned in the job listing, but now you want to know the key priorities (a.k.a. the core tasks of the position). This way, you can quickly decide if you will be able to find satisfaction in the job.
It’s also a good idea to bundle a few relevant questions along with this question. Examples include: “What are the expectations for me in this role?”, as well as “What are some of the challenges that I can expect to face in this job?”
“What criteria will be used to assess my performance?”
This question gives you an idea about the performance indicators that apply within the company, and will help you decide if you’re able to keep up with the pace and results that’s expected of you.
Some employers might ask you for an example of the kind of criteria that you have in mind, so be sure to have some ideas about what you would consider an acceptable performance indicator.
For instance, you can set time as a variable and say that “producing 10 market research reports within a day” is not possible, but “10 market research reports in 3 days” is still feasible.
You can also follow up with a question about the criteria that differentiates a fantastic employee from a good one, to get a clearer idea of the amount of pressure that you might have to face once on board.
“What type of people will do well in this job/company?”
Different personalities flourish in different work environments, and an experienced manager should be able to advise you on the kind of people who can adapt well to the job and the company culture. This involves more than just getting along with your co-workers. It encompasses the values that the company believes in.
For instance, some companies put major emphasis on corporate hierarchy. If you’re not keen on the idea of top-down management styles, then this might not be the right environment for you.
Other factors you may want to consider asking about include flexibility at work, leadership and management style, your future teammates, as well as rituals and routines.
“How is the compensation package like?”
Many graduate jobseekers can be shy about asking about the remuneration package and career progression opportunities, but it’s only natural to want to know how you will be compensated for your skills.
While it’s not okay to kickstart your interview with questions about the salary and benefits, there’s no harm in asking at the end of your second or third interview – after you’ve built better rapport with the recruiter or if a job offer has been made.
If you’re working in a line such as sales, remember to ask about other forms of compensation, such as the commission plans.
Also, go beyond monetary rewards – find out about growth opportunities in your preferred area (e.g. training and learning opportunities), career progression, work-from-home options, claimable expenses, etc.
“What do you like or dislike about working here?”
This is a great way to get some honest insights concerning life on the job. Chances are, your interviewers will be quite upfront with you at this stage of the proceedings. After all, it’s in their interest to make sure you have a realistic picture of the job and what it involves.
Be sure to observe and evaluate both verbal and non-verbal responses to this question, because it can reveal quite a bit about the company. For instance, if someone tells you that they love working there but has a rather ambivalent tone on the topic, then you’ll know that there is something to be wary about.
Running a quick check on the interviewers’ professional backgrounds before your interview is also a good idea, as you can ask them about their experiences working in their current company vs. their previous organisation.
"Can I have a tour around the office?" / "Can I take a look at the seating arrangements in the office?"
Believe it or not, knowing how your (potential) future workplace looks like can vastly affect your decision to accept or turn down a job! You’ll be spending nearly the entire week there, after all, and the physical setting of the place can affect your mood and work satisfaction just as much as your tasks and colleagues.
If an interviewer denies this request, don’t jump to conclusions and assume that they’re trying to cover something up. In most cases, their reluctance to do so is usually because of privacy concerns. What you can do instead is to ask for more detail on what your future workspace might look like.
Remember that the venue of your interview may not necessarily be the same place you’ll be working in. It’s not uncommon for larger companies to hold job interviews in separate, more impressive venues for logistical or crowd control purposes.
If you’re given a tour of workspaces at an interview venue, make sure to (politely) clarify if this will really be the place you’ll be working in.