The Best Questions to Ask During an Interview

By Shaun Coyne

     Interviewing for a new job can be quite intimidating. Often times, we worry about the kinds of questions the potential employer will ask and how we'll answer them. However, while you're preparing your responses, it's important that you also think about what questions to ask in an interview.
     Towards the end of the meeting, the interviewer will typically give you a chance to ask some questions of your own. This will provide you the opportunity to find out if the company will be a good fit for you. Here are some appropriate questions to ask, and why you should be asking them.

8 Questions to Ask in an Interview 

What did the person that previously held this position go on to do?
     Purpose: You want to find out if there were any problems associated with the position. Was the previous employee promoted, fired, or did they leave the company on their own?

Is there room for growth in this department?
Purpose: It's good to have an idea what the prospects are in the department. If there is not much room for growth, the company may not be a good fit for you.

What responsibilities does this position entail?
Purpose: You want to have a clear understanding of exactly what the position requires.

Are there any skills this department is lacking in, but would like to find in a new hire?
Purpose: If the department is in need of a certain skill, it would be beneficial for you to know what it is. This can give a little insight into how the department runs. If the skill is something you already have, you can use that to your advantage. Otherwise, you can take the initiative to gain that skill should you be offered the position.

What are the greatest challenges to be expected in the first few months of this position?
Purpose: You want to know exactly what you're getting into. This will allow you to prepare yourself for what lies ahead. If the challenges are something you're unsure you can handle, you can choose to walk away before even being hired.

What is the structure of this department?
Purpose: You want to have a better understanding of how the department is run. What is the culture like? Who answers to whom?

What do you enjoy about working at this company?
Purpose: By asking this question, your interviewer will be prompted to give a more personal response. You'll find out some of the benefits to working at the company. There's no better person to ask than your interviewer! If he or she is hard pressed to answer, this could be an indication that it's not an enjoyable work environment.

What's the next step in the interviewing process?
Purpose: This question acts as a closer to the interview, but also gives you information on what to expect after you leave.

     Remember, the questions you ask your interviewer should be appropriate. Try to avoid asking about vacation times, changing schedules, or whether or not you've earned the position yet. Be professional and courteous. By asking the right questions, you will be more prepared to make a decision on which company you'd like to begin working for.

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