The job interview is a two-way street.
You should be assessing the employer just as much as they’re assessing you because you both need to walk away convinced that the job would be a great fit … and that should start from the moment you take the hot seat.
At the very end of the interview, the hiring manager usually asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” But don’t wait until they turn the tables to start asking questions.
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” says that there are a few you should ask at the very beginning of the conversation.
Here are three of them, along with her reasons for asking these early on:
‘How did this position develop?’
This is a good conversation starter on your end, says Taylor:
“It demonstrates intellectual curiosity, yet isn’t intrusive or brash. It’s also helpful to let the hiring manager talk, as you gather some history on the position. You’ll get some insight on whether the opening is due to turnover or growth, for example.”
‘How does this role fit into the larger objectives of the department and company?’
Try to ascertain the big picture in the early stages of the interview, suggests Taylor.
“This will help you better frame your answers in a way that’s more meaningful. It’s easier to sell your skills when you can relate them to the company’s larger strategy,” she says.
‘What do you like most about working here?’
This is a friendly, nonthreatening question that works early on because it’s conversational, and you’re showing interest in the interviewer.
“It can also be received as flattering, but at the same time, you’re getting to know the hiring manager.
“Are they thrilled about mentoring their staff, their product or service, the innovative atmosphere? Do they focus on only growth numbers and minimizing expenses, with no mention of the team, training, or growth opportunities? It gives you a sneak preview into your prospective manager’s priorities and all-important personality. This is where it pays to have your people radar up, to evaluate if this is a boss you can respect.”