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5 Questions You Should Ask in an Interview to Make Sure the Job is Right

female employee smiling

When interviewing for a job, your interviewer shouldn’t be the only one asking the questions. There should be time for you to do a little detective work, too.

Asking questions is your last chance to make a big impact on your potential supervisor. It also helps you get a clearer picture of whether a job/company will be the right fit.

Most people ask easy questions that reveal too little. Research the company and position beforehand, and ask questions that show interest and motivation. If your interviewer doesn’t offer enough information upfront, these eight questions will fill in the gaps.

1. What types of projects would I work on?

This question may seem like a given, but “interview anxiety” can make you forget to seek out important details like this.

You may have a general sense of the job description, but since this role will likely take up much of your time, ask for a sneak peek of the concrete and menial tasks before you start. You’ll want to know what you’re getting into and hopefully, what you can look forward to.

Get a grasp of the company’s priorities and what you’d be stepping into right away, including who you’d be working with and whether you’ll be a member of a team.

Knowing the answers to these questions can give you a sense of how — and where — the role fits within the organization. The more you learn ahead of time, the more you’ll know whether this job is compatible.

2. Can you tell me more about the company’s mission?

Show interest in the heartbeat of the company. They want employees who can jive with their mission, and you want to know if you can get on board.

Ask these companion questions to learn more:

  • How did your company begin?
  • What are your major goals?

3. What’s the work environment like?

If this job is on location, gauge the feel of where you’d be spending most of your time. You don’t want to hate going to work.

These additional questions will help you learn about the atmosphere:

  • Is there an open floor plan?
  • Is it noisy or quiet?
  • How would you describe your work culture and morale?
  • What do you like about working here?

4. Do you offer opportunities for professional development?

If you love to grow, learn and possibly earn promotions, don’t lose this question in the pile. The employer’s response will show what progression looks like and what they would expect from you along the way. Plus, you’ll show them that you hope to stick around for a while.

If the company doesn’t offer advancement or opportunities to widen your job skills, picture yourself there in a year. Will you have lost momentum? Be bored? Feeling like you sold yourself short? Keep this front of mind.

5. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in your time here?

Take in all the good with the less-than-good. Get a view of hard times at the company — if your interviewer is honest and willing to share. If you’re someone who enjoys a quality challenge, you may just be fueled by the opportunity to grow and face the tough stuff head-on.    

Check in with yourself

Understanding initial expectations and aiming for clear, specific communication will get you on the right foot. Ask what’s necessary to get your wheels turning and for a gut check when you leave the first interview.

And when they give you a follow-up call, chances are you’ll already know whether it’s worth continuing the relationship you began.