By Daniel Olivan on October 8, 2015
When we think about being interviewed, we easily imagine being on the receiving end of the interrogation. We spend time preparing for the interview days and sometimes weeks before the scheduled date, and try our best to be as updated as we can about the company.
Basically, we prepare for the interview like we prepare for an exam: the interviewer gives us all the important questions, and we have to give the “right answers” if we want to get the job.
But this should not be the case at all. The interview is not only for the company to get to know you; more importantly, it’s your chance to get to know more about the company. You, as the applicant, can use the interview session to get a clearer picture of what your job will be like, how it’s like to work for the company, and, most of all, if the company is good fit for you.
The interviewer, especially a good one, will usually give you some time to ask your own questions after she is done with learning more about you. Here are some questions that you should ask your interviewer before the end of the session:
What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 6 months of my employment?
Asking this question will help you better understand what to expect in the event that you get hired. Knowing what to expect will also help you prepare more efficiently, focusing on learning and studying things that are directly related to your upcoming tasks. You might even change how you feel about the job if you have a clearer picture of the job.
For example: While Marketing and Sales Associate may give you a general idea of what you’ll be doing at work, wouldn’t you prefer knowing that you’ll be handling BPO and telecommunications accounts beforehand? Wouldn’t you also prefer knowing that you’ll be expecting to roll out three campaigns in two months rather than know nothing at all about it?
The interviewer will also see that you are a forward-looking individual who likes to plan ahead, and would most likely be happy to tell you what she expects from you if you do get hired.
You can also ask: What are the most prioritized projects right now related to my role? What are the current challenges being faced by this role?
What kind of training will I get in this job?
This question is mostly for your benefit. Even if the pay is good, or the position lofty (e.g, Operations Manager, Logistics Supervisor of X), you would want at least some space for you to grow. Even if you were being offered a top-management position, there will always be room to learn. Otherwise, your career will end up being stagnant, and that’s not good.
Find out if they have stipends or allowances to fund the personal/professional growth of their employees. Will they be able pay for seminars or conferences that are relevant to your role? Do they have accommodations for employees who want to pursue further studies?
You should also ask if there is room for promotions or advancement within the company. You might reconsider your interest for the job if you find out that that’s the highest position you can get, like in some international companies who reserve their top positions for expats or residents of their home country.
By asking this question, your interviewer will get the (good) impression that since you are concerned with your personal growth in their company, you’re thinking of staying there long-term.
You can also ask: Is there room for professional growth within the company? Do you provide opportunities for professional growth outside?
Who will be my direct supervisor? or, Who will be under my supervision?
It’s important to have at least minimal understanding of how the company’s or your team’s organizational structure works. Not every marketing role will fall under a straightforward marketing department, nor will a “Manager” role mean you’re at the top of a big team. (Some Manager roles may even be a team of one: you.)
Where you stand in the company or team will help you understand how much of a free hand you’ll have in executing your ideas, or who your direct supervisors will be so you can ask guidance from them. If you’re taking on a managerial role, knowing your team will give you a better idea of the logistics of performing your tasks once your hire.
While this question doesn’t significantly change your interviewer’s impression of you, knowing more about the role will definitely be a good thing for you when the time comes that you have to make a decision.
You can also ask: How is the organizational structure of the company? Which people or departments will I directly be working with in this role?
What is the office culture like?
If you only have time for a few questions at the end of an interview, you should make this should be one of them. The office culture is about how a day in the office is like, how co-workers engage with each other. It’s how secretive or open departments are with each other, or how work hours are like in the office. In short, it’s how you’ll be living your life in the next few years if you get hired.
If a company is more than 20 or 30 years old, you might find yourself working in an office that’s stable but strict on bureaucracy. A smaller company made up of about less than 50 employees like Kalibrr could make collaboration easier and more dynamic, but might be too small for comfort for claustrophobic employees. A journalism or publishing job might give you irregular hours, while corporate offices will most likely have strict 8-to-5 schedules. Details like these are all part of a company’s culture.
While you can ask about an entire company’s culture, asking about a smaller part of the company’s culture works too, like perhaps how your team does their work. Just make sure you get to know this aspect about the company you’re applying for. If you’re going to spend at least a third of your day in their offices, you might as well make sure it works for you.
You can also ask: What’s a day in the office like? What’s different about working here than in other companies?