It's as certain as the grams of fat in a scoop of regular ice cream: At some point during a job interview, a hiring manager is going to ask if you have any questions. Granted, we all know this isn't the time to inquire about salary or vacation time. But what about some legitimate questions that seem a little gutsy? Nancy Spivey, an Atlanta career coach, encourages candidates to think of the interview process as a two-way street. Yes, you're there to win a job offer. But isn't it just as important to find out if this is a job you really want? And not just that, does the company offer a corporate culture that suits you? Listen, they're interested enough to bring you in for an interview. Be interested enough in them to find out what it's like to work there.
Ronnie Ann, founder of the website "Career Nook" has some great suggestions on questions to ask a hiring manager. She encourages job seekers to ask questions that will enable them to know what it's like to work where they are interviewing. A few of her suggestions include:
- How would you describe the company's management style?
- Are there any special projects coming up I could work on, or that you have in mind for me?
- How long have you worked here? What do you like most about the company?
U.S. News and World Report also tackled this topic. In an article title, "The 8 Best Questions to Ask A Job Interviewer," the writer interviewed career coaches, consultants and hiring managers. While the title doesn't suggest the questions are gutsy, they are. Take a look:
- How has this position evolved since it was created?
The purpose of this question is to find out how the position has evolved or if its been a dead-end for other employees.
- What have past employees done to succeed in this position?
The point of this question is to glean a better understanding of how the organization defines an "achievement" and if you have the skill set to deliver the results.
- What is the top priority for the person hired over the next three months?
This is all about focus and expectations. If you get the job, you can walk in on Day One knowing how to make the best impression. The hiring manager's answer will also give you some insight into whether the expectations are reasonable.
- What are the qualities of successful managers in this company?
This one has a double-edge: If you're interviewing for a managerial position, it's pretty obvious why you want to know the answer. However, if the position doesn't have any direct reports, it's imperative to find out what traits the organization values in its leaders. This will give you some insight on how to get promoted, before you even accept the job.
- If offered the position, can you give examples of how I would collaborate with my supervisor?
At first blush, this may seem like a sleeper. It's not. There's a distinct difference in an employee who is simply expected to take orders and an employee who is being groomed for something more. Competent people rarely thrive under a micro-manager. Asking this question will give you an idea of the employer's management style. And if the answer doesn't give you a clear idea of the philosophy, respectfully ask follow-up questions to delve a little deeper.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.