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Questions To Ask Employers (When You’re Interviewing For A Job)

A friend of mine asked for my career advice the other day as he was preparing to interview for a job — I told him: turn the tables on your employer and ask THEM all the questions.

You may recall from A Simple 4-Step Approach on How To Sell Better (SPIN Selling), that I agree with the SPIN Selling approach in which you ask lots of questions to close a deal.

And this applies to a job interview in which you’re interviewing THEM as much as they are interviewing you.

Note: “Closing” the deal can include you closing it “out” (as in you don’t want to pursue the position)).

So, I rattled off these questions below. I suggest you immediately take control of the interview by saying something like: “Thank you for investing some time in me — would you mind if I began by asking a few questions about you and your business.

*Note: If any of these answers are available through research (e.g. on Web pages), you should research them ahead of time and skip asking them.

Questions To Ask Employers

Questions that Relate to the Person Interviewing You

  • How do you get hooked up with the business?
  • What are the top priorities for you right now?
  • What are some key things I can take off your plate?

Big-Picture Questions To Ask Employers

  • What are the top priorities for the entire business right now?
  • How is the company structure organized (e.g. is it by department or by brand (with each brand having its own departments) and how does your team fit in?*
  • What’s the “secret sauce” to how you make money (or create value)?
  • Who are the shareholders/owners of the company? (Do any of them work at the company?)*
  • Does the company have a purpose statement or mission statement?*
  • Does the company have a set of company values — if yes, may I see a list of them?*

Performance, Compensation & Benefits Questions To Ask Employers

  • How are priorities set? (e.g. within your group)
  • How will you measure my performance?
  • How does compensation work — is it just salary? Is there potential to earn bonuses or equity?
  • What’s the company’s approach to work versus personal/family time ?

Questions To Ask Employers That Relate to Just You

  • Who would my manager be and who do they report to?
  • What is the company’s room for moving up the corporate latter?
  • Are there any training opportunities I could potentially take advantage of?

I’ll add other questions to ask employers as I think of them…feel free to do the same in the comments section.

If you ask a lot of questions, and listen carefully, you’ll be in better shape to size up the job opportunity.

2 Comments

  • Frank Falkenburg

    Rob….as you know I have been on the hunt for gainful employment since the winding up of my business…this is actually the first time in my 45 years of life that i can recall having to do formal interviews.

    But, if you are looking for high paying work you gotta play the game and my interview skills at the outset were less than stellar.

    Of course I sat and talked with you and just watching your style and manner of “drilling” down into lines of question and organizing conversations was beyond helpful for me and in trying to emulate your calm analytical style I really learned a lot.

    Now before every interview and conversation which may lead to an interview I review this simple article…it helps me calm myself, organize my thoughts and I truly believe that my interview skills have improved immensely as a result.

    No matter what happens with my job search I already come away from these conversations with a great sense of self satisfaction and improved confidence that I have presented my best self and that is a good feeling.

    Thank you for taking the time to work with me and to put this simple reminder down in writing…Frank

  • http://www.robdkelly.com/about/ Rob Kelly

    Thanks for the kind words on me and my job interview questions, Frank.

    It’s easy to have meetings with evolved professionals like you. I’m looking forward to your next venture!