Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

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We’ve all been there before: you start a new job, so excited about the possibilities, only to quickly realize it’s not a good fit. That’s why it’s important to remember that while you’re interviewing for a job, you’re also interviewing the company. We often spend so much time preparing to show we’re the best fit for the job that we forget to consider whether the company’s the right fit for us. Asking cultural questions during your interview is one of the best ways to get the information you need to make an informed decision. 

Asking culture questions during your interview can help you gauge the company’s values, how employees communicate with one another, their approach to leadership, and much more. Accepting a position where you don’t align with the culture can be detrimental to your career and stunt your growth. 

Here are 10 culture-fit questions to ask during your next job interview: 

How would you describe the corporate culture? 

Let’s be honest. An interviewer will never say the company culture is awful. However, if you listen carefully, their answer can still tell you a lot. If they describe the environment as fast-paced and competitive, it might not be a good fit if you’re looking for a company that’s more team-oriented with a great work-life balance. 

What professional development opportunities are available? 

If you don’t want to be in the same role five years from now, it’s important to pick an organization that nurtures and develops employees. As an employee, you should always be learning new things and taking on new challenges. If an organization has no formal or informal professional development opportunities, that is something to consider when evaluating an offer. 

What diversity and inclusion initiatives does HR have? 

For a lot of people, diversity, equity, and inclusion are the top priorities in a job search. No one wants to work in an environment where there’s bias or where they don’t feel valued and supported. While no organization is perfect, it’s important to see if the company values diversity and inclusion and how it’s practiced throughout the organization. 

What leadership opportunities exist in this role? 

If you want to grow in your career, you need to be at a company that’s interested in cultivating leaders. While a formal promotion may not always be possible at every company, the opportunity to take on new projects and lead in some capacity should be available. If the company isn’t creating leadership opportunities for employees, it may not be a good move if you desire to climb the corporate ladder. 

How are reviews handled, and what’s being measured? 

Most companies have a formal process for measuring performance, whether annually or multiple times a year. Understanding when you’ll be evaluated and what you’ll be evaluated on is a big part of measuring fit. If the interviewer gives vague or unclear answers on what you’ll be measured on, that’s a big red flag. Trying to measure up to unclear or changing expectations is a sure way to ensure job dissatisfaction. 

What a company considers a success varies from one company to the next. Making sure you understand the expectations is crucial to your success in the position. While one company may consider innovation and out-of-the-box thinking a measure of success, another company may consider how well you uphold the status quo and conform to the company’s culture as a measure of success. 

Why did the last person leave? 

Did the last person in this role leave on good terms? Did they move to a better role? While a hiring manager might be reluctant to share too many details about a previous employee, learning even a little about a former employee can give you insight into the company’s culture. Previous employees have tons of insight into the company culture, working relationships, and the pros and cons of the working environment. It could save you a lot of trouble to learn that the last employee left because the working environment was toxic and non-inclusive. 

What challenges is the department/organization facing, and how does this position fit into fixing them? 

When companies are going through a transitional period or facing a lot of challenges, it can make the work environment difficult to navigate as a new employee. Understanding what the current climate is like and how leadership expects you to contribute to fixing these issues should be an important part of your evaluation process. Taking on a crucial role at a company during a challenging time can be a great professional challenge, but it’s best to walk into the opportunity eyes wide open rather than being blindsided.

How would you describe your management style? 

If you’re early in your career, it might be important to you to have a manager who actively provides feedback and even mentorship. If you’re later in your career, it may be important to have a manager who gives you autonomy. Whatever you’re looking for, asking this question directly can provide you with the greatest insights. Your relationship with your manager is the most consequential relationship at your company, so making sure your styles and needs align is critical. 

Who do I have to interact with to be successful in this role? 

If your position requires you to interact with other teams or departments to be successful, it’s important to know that. Once you know who you need to work closely with, you can request to meet them to make sure it’s a good fit before accepting the job. Working with people whose work styles don’t align or who have terrible dispositions can make a work environment a nightmare.

Asking as many questions as possible can help you find a role that’s truly a good fit. It also helps to go into an interview knowing what values you’re looking for in an organization. Asking questions can be the difference between enduring a negative work experience and finding an opportunity that will take your career to the next level.

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