Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, but like most things in life, showing up prepared makes a huge difference. “Prepared” includes knowing what questions to ask in a job interview – not just getting ready to field your interviewer’s questions to you.
While yes, the company is interviewing you and you should be prepared to answer some common interview questions, you’re also interviewing them. You want to make sure the job is a fit for you, after all. Plus, asking questions shows you’re engaged and interested – which hiring managers are looking for.
The best questions to ask in a job interview can vary by the level you’re at in your career path, but for the most part, you really can’t ask too many questions, says Mandi Woodruff-Santos, a career and wealth-building expert in the New York City area and co-host of the Brown Ambition podcast. (Within reason, of course – so making sure the questions weren’t already answered during the interview, that you don’t blow way past the allotted interview time, all of those good things.)
“The interview process is kind of like a first date, and as long as you ask questions in a respectful manner, I really don’t think you’ll lose any points,” says Woodruff-Santos. “For me, what hurts more is when people don’t ask enough questions.” A perceived lack of interest can make a hiring manager think you’re not serious about the job, or that you’re just trying to get a competing offer to use as leverage at your current job. Neither is likely to get you hired.
Showing up prepared with some relevant interview questions is a simple and worthwhile tactic to help you nail down the best job opportunity for yourself. Read on for some of the most important questions to ask in a job interview on your hunt for your next role.
1. What sort of career growth opportunities do you see for someone in this role?
According to Woodruff-Santos, this question is important to ask in order to ensure you don’t end up in a stagnant role, especially if you see yourself wanting to grow both within the company and in your industry.
“Transparency is really important and telling people exactly what’s expected for them to get to the next level helps with retention,” she says. “You can tell them, ‘I’m really excited to join your company at this level and can see myself staying here for several years, but what sort of career opportunities do you see for someone in my role?’”
You should also ask why a position is open to find out if someone got promoted or even resigned, says Vicki Salemi, a career expert and former corporate recruiter based in the New York City area. This can give you some insight into whether your role has room for upward mobility.
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2. How does this company measure performance and determine salary increases?
Similarly, you should ask how a company measures performance so that you know the key performance indicators you should look out for, Woodruff-Santos says. Some companies have quarterly reviews while others do biannually and some just do once a year, and it’s worthwhile to know how often you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your growth and progress.