It’s the end of the job interview and the recruiter asks, “Do you have any questions?” The answer to this question is, “It depends.”
Have all the basic questions about the position and/or company been addressed? Were details provided about the job title, the department, office hours, benefits, salary, and specific job duties? Did the recruiter delve into what the company does or how long it has been in business? Was there a discussion about what will happen next and within what time frame?
If these questions have been addressed and no others immediately come to mind, here are five others to consider asking at the end of the job interview.
Can you describe the culture of the organization?
Most people don’t think about organizational culture when considering employment or the importance it plays in defining what is acceptable and unacceptable within an organization. However, companies operate based on a set value system that is reflected in how employees behave. This creates the company culture. So matching the culture and values of the organization to each candidate’s personal values is important.
Someone who thrives on creativity and challenge isn’t as likely to find enjoyment with a company culture that is routine and repetitious or where new ideas are quashed. The best environment is one where the company values align with each candidate’s own. Working in the insurance industry tends to be quite different than working in the entertainment industry.
Why do you like working here?
An enthusiastic recruiter can do a lot to sell an organization. That’s part of the job. However, if a recruiter’s happiness is based on his experience within his own department – he has a great boss, he really enjoys the work, his co-workers are terrific — and he doesn’t speak glowingly on an organization-wide basis, this might be a red flag indicating that outside his department things aren’t so great. Remember to ask the hiring manager this same question.
What makes this company a great place to work?
This is similar to the previous question, however, now the recruiter (or hiring manager) is forced to provide details on a more global basis. Candidates should listen carefully to the type of things the recruiter feels makes up a great organization, and then decide if these items are equally important to them. Someone might not care about having the opportunity to work on cross-functional teams or being able to join a mentoring program.
What are some of the characteristics that have made people successful in this organization?
Successful employees may be creative, driven mavericks or credible, trustworthy team players. Finding out provides some insight into what the recruiter is probably looking for in candidates and whether or not a candidate has the qualities necessary to be successful in this organization. In addition, consider asking the hiring manager about the characteristics that have made people successful in the department.
If you could change one thing about this organization, what would it be?
Here’s where a candidates gets to find out a little bit about the recruiter. Will she be honest and say something significant or sidestep the question with a rather pat and unrevealing answer. This can be a difficult question to answer if the recruiter doesn’t have a big-picture view of all that is going on or is reluctant to divulge possible negative information about the organization. However, a recruiter should be able to give her point of view about some aspect that the organization could improve on, even if it’s just a better benefit plan.
Remember: don’t be afraid to ask questions. And having asked, don’t be afraid to explore the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s response. Interviews are a two-way street. And while candidates shouldn’t overstay their welcome, they should make sure they have a good understanding of what they might be getting in to.