Interviewing the Interviewer

An interview provides the opportunity for an employer to assess a job candidate, but the interviewer shouldn’t be the only one asking the questions.  Job candidates can save a lot of trouble and prevent surprises later by asking the right questions during the interview.  A few key questions to ask your interviewer:

What type of person succeeds in this position?

Knowing the characteristics required for success can help you determine your fit for the position.  After hearing the hiring manager’s description, you might realize that the job doesn’t match your personality or abilities.


How will performance be measured?

Not knowing how your performance is measured can cause a lot of anxiety at work.  Before you start work in a new position, you should know your manager’s standards and how these are assessed.  This will also allow you to better assess your own performance.


What opportunities for growth and advancement does this position offer?

Nobody wants a dead-end job and this question can give you an idea about how much potential the position offers. You may also learn about the typical promotion timeline and ensure the job matches your career goals.


What are the typical obstacles and challenges faced by someone in this position?

Learning about potential problems upfront is always better than discovering them after you start a new job. This gives you the opportunity to seek advice and think of solutions. 


Most interviewers ask if you have any questions at the end of the interview.  A few questions can be asked at this point, but you may also find opportunities to ask questions throughout the interview.  You should also ask industry- and company-specific questions that demonstrate your knowledge and show you’ve done your research on the company.

For more on successful job interview strategies, read Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You the Job.