The moment of the interview is, without a doubt, a crucial moment, where you have to demonstrate your skills, give confidence to those who interview you, but, at the same time, try to understand the characteristics and peculiarities of the new opportunity. To facilitate this moment, I list, next, 15 questions that can help you understand some of these most important aspects.
1) What are the main responsibilities of the position?
If you have not been given prior knowledge of the job description, it is time to find out. Even if you have already read a basic job description, and there should be a list of job responsibilities there, the purpose of the question is to hear what are the key responsibilities, the most important from the point of view of who is interviewing you (do this question to everyone who interviews you, it is good to understand the perception of each one).
2) To whom (what position) will I report directly?
Often, the first interview is not with your future boss, but with someone from the Organization’s Human Resources area, or a hired selection consultant, if that is the case, ask about the position to which you will report, and your position in the context of the Organization.
3) Who are the employees / managers who will report directly to me? How is the team that will be under my responsibility?
This is a basic information for understanding the new challenge, and it is good to have an insight into the position and responsibilities. If you are talking to a selection consultant, it is likely that he will not be able to answer, and will tell you that in an upcoming interview you will be informed.
4) What will be my goals for the first year?
Objectively speaking, once you take over the new job, this is where you should put your efforts and attention, so it is good to know this information.
5) How will I be evaluated? Who will do my assessment?
An objective way of evaluating would be based on the achievement of goals, but many Organizations use models based on certain characteristics and grades, models that I, in particular, understand to be ineffective. Anyway, it is good for you to know what the form of assessment will be, how often, and who will do it.
6) What are the most problematic areas that need more attention?
This is an enlightening question, as it is likely that the selection process is taking place because of this, and the expectations of the leadership and the Organization as a whole may be residing precisely on this issue.
7) What are the challenges in relation to the team?
This is another question that follows the same line as the previous one, but, now, focused on people.
8) What are the most important skills for this position, in your opinion?
It is another important piece of information, as you will be able to confront the expectations of the interviewer, with his own perceptions.
9) Will I have complete freedom to build my team?
This is an issue that I consider fundamental to be able to fully exercise the management function. If you, as a manager, are not completely free to hire or fire people on your team, you will have obvious difficulties, so think well if it’s worth it!
10) How are the training programs in the Organization?
This question allows you to know a little about what type of investment the Organization makes in the development of employee skills.
11) Why did the previous job holder leave (was dismissed or resigned)? What were your main difficulties?
The answer here is a good indication of the expectations and the context of the challenge of this job opportunity.
12) What are the number of employees, production shifts, and working hours (production and administrative)?
This is a question to translate the current pace of the Organization.
13) What is the company’s annual revenue?
This is a question that allows you to position the Organization in the financial sphere.
14) After some years of working here, and having good results, what are the possible new opportunities in the Organization?
This question makes it clear that you are focused on today’s challenge, as you are imagining a possible change in just “a few years”, and it is good for those on the other side to know that, despite being focused, you have the strength to go further, and it’s good for you to know if there is any prospect of internal growth.
15) What are the salary and benefit policies linked to the position?
It is clear that the salary issue and the benefits of the position are fundamental for an analysis of acceptance of the proposal. But, in some situations, the salary position is not given and, on the contrary, a salary claim is requested, in which case the previous questions are important for you to understand the size of the challenge. Questions 13 and 14 give a good idea of the Organization’s operational complexity, making it possible to compose the salary claim more clearly.
Of course, in addition to these, other questions can be asked, depending on specific characteristics of the opportunity to which you are applying. In any case, always be confident, and be clear in your communication. Good luck!