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Still Unsure of What Questions to Ask the Employer in the Interview?

Recruiters and hiring managers have told us numerous times that they expect interviewees to come prepared with questions of their own. In fact, it shows lack of engagement in the process when an interviewee says they don't have anything to ask.


Yet, job seekers indicate they really aren't sure of what to ask. Often, at the end of an interview they are physically tired and mentally spent. Coming up with questions of their own is challenging.


Revision Resume highly recommends you don't wait until you are on the spot to determine which questions to ask. Just as you should practice typical interview questions prior to the interview, you should also prepare a list of your own questions prior to the interview. Consider this to be part of the preparation process.



Handshake at an interview


Topics to Cover With Your Interview Questions


First, think about which topics are important to you. Here are some options to consider:

  • Management style

  • Communication

  • Diversity and inclusion

  • Work-life balance

  • Daily work hours

  • Growth and development

  • Company culture

You want to get your questions surrounding the above topics answered during the interview. That way, if you end up accepting the job offer, you aren't surprised by something when you start working. Do you assume you could work remotely if desired? Are you expecting the work day to be from 8am-5pm? Is the organization meeting-focused or does communication primarily occur via email?


Don't just make assumptions if these are important issues for you. Ask questions when given the opportunity so you are sure you understand how the business works and your specific role.


Shift Shock


A recent survey indicated that 72% of respondents had experienced "that feeling when you start a new job and realize, with either surprise or regret, that the position or company is very different from what you were led to believe." This concept is being termed "Shift Shock" and 80% of those surveyed felt it was OK to leave a job within 6 months of being hired if that was their experience. Of course, that means starting the job search all over again within months of thinking you had secured a position and were done with the uncertainty of seeking new employment. Since a job search is stressful, it is really best to ensure you get the answers to the questions during the interview so you don't face this scenario.


Examples of Specific Interview Questions

  • Is this role a new position or am I replacing someone? If I am replacing someone, where did that person go?

  • What makes someone successful in this role?

  • How does management provide feedback to employees?

  • How can employees provide feedback to management?

  • How are goals set for employees? Are they individual or do you have team goals as well? Do I get to provide input when goals are being set?

  • How are raises and promotions determined? Are they based on success compared to goals or some other metric?

  • Does the department have standing meetings? If yes, when are they held?

  • What does a typical work day look like?

  • What are typical work hours? Are weekends/evenings expected?

  • Is there the potential for working remotely?

  • How does this business promote diversity and inclusion?

  • What opportunities are available for personal development?

  • Are there company-wide events? Do departments collaborate with each other? If so, how?

Final Interview Questions


Every interviewee should have the same final set of questions. Don't leave the interview without asking about follow-up. You can ask:

  • What is the next step in the hiring process?

  • When do you expect to make a hiring decision?

  • When should I expect to hear from you?

  • When would it be appropriate for me to follow-up?

Asking the above questions will help you determine the next step you take. In some cases, the hiring manager may be making the decision the next day. In other cases, they will be interviewing other candidates and may be waiting to decide for a few weeks. It is even possible that they plan to keep the position open for a few months to see what kind of candidates apply. Or, maybe they plan to call a subset of interviewees back for a 2nd or 3rd round of interviews. You don't know how their hiring process works, so you need to ask.


This will give you the information required so you know when it is OK to follow-up. It will help prevent you from coming across as desperate, or incorrectly assuming you didn't get the job because you haven't heard back.


Post-Interview Thank You


Don't forget to send a thank you note to everyone that interviewed you after the interview is complete. This can be sent via email or through the postal service.


We recommend against sending your thank-you via text. Not only is it too informal, but you should consider expanding on just saying thank you. Make your post-interview thank you note go above and beyond by reiterating the value you will add to the organization.


This Value Proposition Letter (VPL) is an important step in the interview process. Just like asking questions of your own shows engagement, the VPL is another opportunity for you to state that you are interested in the position.


To learn more about what goes into a VPL, check out our webpage on the topic here or our blogs here. Need help? Reach out to Revision Resume to see how we can assist you!




Related Reading:

5 Tips for How to Prepare for an Interview

5 Common Interview Errors

What Should be Included in a Value Proposition Letter


Looking for additional Interview tips? Click here.


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