10/10/2016

10 questions you need to ask when applying for a job

You wouldn’t buy a house without having first viewed the property, right? You wouldn’t marry someone without knowing the person? And you wouldn’t sign up for a job without knowing what the job is all about, would you?
Well, as a recruiter, I meet far too many people who come to a job interview without asking the right questions themselves! Not just the usual 2 or 3 questions that show you’re really interested in the job. I’m talking about the questions you need to ask in order to really understand what the job is all about.

Since applying at Delaware Consulting is a two-way communication process, we’re always happy to hear some creative and profound questions. In case you’re all out of creativity: I’ve noticed that Joe Konop (Expert Resume Writer & founder of One Great Resumé) and I share similar ideas on what great questions you should ask when applying for a job. 

Here are my 10 favorites:

1. What skills and experiences would make an ideal candidate?

By asking this question you indirectly ask the recruiter to explain what he’s exactly looking for in a candidate. This will allow you to better tailor your responses. If the recruiter mentions something you didn’t cover yet, now is your chance.

2. What have you enjoyed most about working here? What keeps you motivated? 

This question allows you to connect more strongly with the recruiter, as he shares his experiences. Since this is a more personal question, it’s best to ask this one somewhat later on in the interview. Tip: the more difficult it seems to answer this question, the less honest the recruiter’s answer will be.

3. How would you describe the company culture? 

This one you should definitely ask! The answer will give you a unique insight into the way people interact within the company. Tip: try to ask this question to the team leader or manager who’s closely involved in the team you’ll be joining. And never take “a dynamic company culture” for an answer!

4. Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications? 

This question demonstrates that you’re confident, unafraid of criticism and willing to work on those things you’re currently lacking. Again try to anticipate the recruiter’s answer. Be humble about the skills you already possess and show a great willingness to learn.

5. Do you offer (continuing) education and professional training? 

It’s important to know which investments the employer is willing to make. Not just to get you up and running. But also throughout your career.

6. What does a career path look like at this company? 

Although there is no single answer to this question (even not within the same company), you should ask the interviewer to elaborate on individual growth perspectives. It’s up to the company to provide a good framework but it’s up to you to grab the opportunities which are being offered.

7. Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with? 

Be aware of the position you’re taking by asking the question: it assumes that you will get the job. But it’s worth asking anyway. It’s a great way to gain more insights about the people with whom you’ll be working on a daily basis… That is, if you land the job :).

8. What can you tell me about your new products or growth plans? 

This isn’t a standalone question; customize it to fit your employer and to the position you’re applying for. Do your homework on the company and include that info in your question. This is not only a great way to gain insights on where the employer is heading, it’s also a chance to demonstrate your pro-activeness and your thorough interview preparation.

9. How many employees have been brought in via other employees? 

Although you might not get an exact number, the answer will give you an idea whether employees are happy with their employer. Satisfied employees are great company ambassadors who tell their friends and relatives what a great place their company is.

10. What is the next step in the hiring process? 

This is the essential last question and also one you should definitely ask. It shows that you’re proactive and interested in moving along in the process. It also invites the recruiter to tell you how many candidates are in the running, whom you’ll be meeting in the next round and what to expect from these interviews. Dare to ask how you can prepare for these steps, again showing that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the job.

I personally think that asking this last question is the Olympic minimum. You just can’t leave the room without knowing what steps will follow. The most valuable information, in my opinion, is getting insight into the team that you’ll be joining. Your level of job satisfaction will mainly depend on the people you’re surrounded by. My last piece of advice: in case the answer given doesn’t seem to cover your question, repeat or rephrase it! Do not be fobbed of with a half an answer. Make the recruiter work on great answers as you have the right to have them.
Always keep in mind that a job interview is a two-way communication process in which both parties’ goal is to get to know each other and, ultimately, to check whether there is a fit between the mutual expectations.
Do share your own experiences with us! Let us know which questions you value the most!


Author: Jasper Van Mullem. You can follow Jasper on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn