By Shareem Kilkenny
Preparing a list of questions to ask your interviewer is always a good idea as it will set you apart from the competition and shows you are proactive by taking the initiative to ask intelligent and thought provoking questions – not just the generic questions the interviewer has heard several times. There are no set number of questions to ask however try to have at least 3-5 prepared. Also, try to ask open ended questions to create opportunities for conversation. Make sure you do your research, so that your questions are unique to the organization. Remember that an interview has two purposes. Just as the interviewer is assessing whether you are a good fit for their organization, you should be assessing whether the organization and position fits your lifestyle, career goals and expectations.
1. What are some behaviors of the Senior Leadership team that demonstrate the organization’s core values of respect, efficiency, diversity and collaboration?
This not only demonstrates your knowledge of the company’s core values, but that you desire to understand the behaviors of its Senior Leadership Team. Senior Leadership behavior sets the tone for the organization. This is a question that is sure to engage the interviewer.
2. What tools and support are in place to help me grow my career in your organization?
This question emphasizes your desire to enhance your skills with the organization. It also shows you have a desire to be committed to the organization. Any manager would be excited to know that a potential employee has a desire to excel at the next level.
3. What would be the top priority of this position in the first 60 days?
Understanding the initial expectations lets you determine if they are achievable based on your skill level. You do not want to start a new position overwhelmed and stressed from the beginning. For example, the response from the manager could indicate expectation is for you to develop a new on-boarding program for new hires during your first 60 days. This may not be realistic without understanding further details about this project and you may decide that this position is not the best fit for you.
4. What is your management style?
Understanding the management style of your superior will be key to your success. No matter how you feel about the organization you will be working directly for a specific manager. This is critical to understand before you accept a position. A large number of employees leave companies because they do not get along with their immediate supervisors. During your time in the military you may have been used to having lots of structure around your job, decisions, etc.; and you may have difficulty working for a manager with little to no structure.
5. What particular areas about my experience and background interest you?
This is a great question to draw the focus back to your skill and qualifications. It also gives you an opportunity to elaborate further or speak about additional points you may have not gotten the opportunity to articulate during the interview. For instance, if the interviewer indicates they were impressed by the various projects you managed while in the military, you can use this time to reinforce this with an example or further comments. Now would be a good time to highlight you recent pursuit of your PMP (Project Management Professional) certification.