6 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask During the Interview

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Today's Question: What are some questions candidates should always ask during the interview – and why are those questions valuable?

1. Can I See Your Administrative Policies?

Candidates should ask to see the company's administrative policies and the policies directed at customers. Every organization needs rules, but you can tell a lot about a corporation's culture from the way its policies are worded. Are they neutral in tone, or do they sound dictatorial and combative? Do they sound like they are the product of a collaborative environment, or more like the written dictates of a drill sergeant? Good policies are based on the assumption that employees want to do the right things, not on the assumption that people are always trying to get around the rules. Organizations with compliance and control problems word their rules in a way that betrays those problems.

— Lewis Eisen, Perfect Policies

2. How Will My Performance Be Measured?

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If the criteria are not clear and measurable, then you are being set up for failure. Get specifics. Understand what you are expected to achieve, how others have achieved these things, and where people have struggled in the past. You should clearly know where you stand at all times. Don't work for companies where the criteria are not clear.

— Fletcher Wimbush, The Hire Talent

3. Do You Align With My Professional Needs?

It's important to first know what you want in a position. What type of management style are you looking for? What do you need in terms of company culture? If you want to grow professionally, how will this company support you? If you're happy staying in this role for the next five years, will the company support that decision, or will it look down on you?

Once you know what you want in the position and culture, structure your questions in ways that ensure example-based responses.

My four favorite questions from candidates are:

1. Can you give me specific examples of how this role will have an opportunity to impact the overall mission of the company? ​

2. As a manager, how do you give and take constructive feedback? Do other people on the team have the same style? What's the most common feedback you have given to people in this role?

3. No company is perfect. What one thing would you change about this team or the company in general?

​4. Can you tell me about (or introduce me to) someone on the team who was recently promoted? What skills helped them get promoted? Do you look for these skills across the board, or are they unique for their specific role?

— Mary Fox, Marlow

4. Why Are You Hiring for This Position?

One of the most valuable questions a candidate can ask during an interview is, "Why are you hiring for this position?" The answer will differ greatly from interviewer to interviewer. In some cases, the position they're hiring for may be a brand new one they've never filled before, which allows for further discussion of why the role is opening up and what the company would like to see a potential new hire do within it.

— Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation

5. Is There Room for Growth?

Asking about growth shows an employer you are motivated and want to move up the ladder or develop new skills. The last thing I want to do is hire someone, train them, and watch them leave in a year. By asking this question, it shows you intend to grow with the company in the long term.

— Ian McClarty, PhoenixNAP

6. What Do You Appreciate Most About the Culture Here? What Frustrates You?

This demonstrates your desire to understand the impact of this organization's culture on people. Hiring managers generally appreciate when candidates invest time in learning more about the effective ways of working at their organizations. Hearing their perspectives also allows you to understand whether that culture is a good fit for you.

— Joseph Liu, Career Consultant and Host of Career Relaunch