Interviews are stressful. There is no doubt about it. You need to be prepared to speak about your past experience and essentially convince someone (or multiple people) that you are perfect for the position and would be a great fit for the team.
A lot of people are so focused on selling themselves during the hiring process that they forget a couple critical points. Firstly, this is also a time for you to be interviewing the company. And second, the questions that you ask during the interview can help demonstrate that you are informed, insightful, and proactive.
Interviews are a two-way street. And if you are not asking questions—or not asking the right questions—you are doing your candidacy a huge disservice. Before you walk into the meeting, dedicate some time to thinking about what you are looking for in the new position. Then, put together some questions that can help you evaluate whether or not this would be a smart career move. The following examples can give you a good jumping off point:
What is your team leader’s managerial style and what are the expectations?
Every manager is different. It is important that you speak directly to the individual that you will be working under, and have a clear understanding of their expectations. Will you need to check in multiple times a day and only move forward with your manager’s blessing, or will you be expected to proactively determine your own solutions?
What does a career path look like from this position? How is this evaluated?
When you transition to a new position, you want to know that you will be able to move forward in your career. This means that you need to be asking about the company’s career trajectory. Is there a standardized process for promotions? When can you expect to have your performance evaluated and what is the criteria that will be considered?
Can you speak to someone on the team who would be a peer?
Talking to HR and your potential manager is great for discussing the expectations and logistics regarding a position, but it is not going to give you a true sense of what your day-to-day would be like. By talking to someone “on your level,” who you’d be working and collaborating with on a daily basis, you can get a better sense of the company culture and what working for this company would really be like.
Know What Matters to You
The questions that you ask need to be centered around the things that you really care about in a position. Are you looking for flexibility, or are you more concerned with gaining “the right” experience? By knowing the factors that are most important to you, personally, you will be able to feel confident that you are building the type of career that makes the most sense for you.