The Two-Way Interview

by sysop in Acing the Interview

by Jeremiah Hempel

When you go into an interview, you already know that you will be asked a lot of questions. Most you’ll be ready for; some others you’ll have to think fast on your feet. If you’ve been on an interview, you know that it will inevitably conclude with:

“So do you have any questions?”

Most people have a knee-jerk response of “no” in order to end the interview as soon as possible. It’s been stressful and you want to get home. But this interview isn’t over.

In fact, you’ve arrived at a key part of the interview. Recruiters are looking for someone who is both capable of performing the job well and interested in the company. You need to do some interviewing of your own.

So what questions should you ask?

This is a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and to learn more about the position. Asking questions is an opportunity to reveal your interest in the company and its mission. Here are three areas you can explore:

1. The Position

  • What are the responsibilities of the position?
  • What department is the position in?
  • Who would I be working for?
  • Does the company offer a collaborative environment or do people work more independently here?

These questions give you a better idea of the expectations of the position and show your interest.  Recruiters look for these types of relevant questions in a candidate to show that they are detail-oriented and looking for more complete information.

 

2. The Company

  • When did the company start?
  • How big is the company?
  • What kind of clients/audience is the company marketing to?

These questions show interest in the company’s mission. They allow you to dig deeper into the company itself. These questions show that if you get the position you will want to work for a cause greater than your individual benefit.

 

3. The Culture

  • How long have you (the recruiters) worked here?
  • What are the company’s core hours?
  • Who is the CEO and what is he/she like?

These questions help you gauge the atmosphere. Some offices are very serious about their work. Some try to make the office more fun with clubs and office events. You should try to learn these things through observation of the office, but if you want more information and the interview is going well, feel free to ask these questions or others about work culture.

 

These are just some ideas. You may have different ones based on the flow of the conversation with the interviewer.

If you ask thoughtful questions, you will walk out of the interview having learned about the position, the culture, and the company. This helps inform your decision to join the company if you have the opportunity – and shows recruiters that you are interested in the company’s mission. The interview isn’t over until you’ve asked some pertinent questions.