You’ve heard it in some capacity or another: “An interview isn’t just an employer’s opportunity to interview you, it’s your chance to interview your potential future employer.” That’s great – but what do you ask? This blog post will look at exactly that.

When candidates come in for interviews, a flaw I see often is a lack of good questions coming from the other side of the table. Aside from position, salary and benefit-related questions, there are a few I really like to hear. They’re as follows.

Why do I excite you as a candidate?

There’s certainly nothing overly complicated about this question. It’s just one I love to hear candidates ask. To the interviewer, it communicates a cool confidence and that feedback is wanted. It tells me that the candidate wants to know why they’ve been selected to come in and interview, and it tells me that they want to have more insight into the company and how they might be a match. And for the interviewee, it provides personal data points for future interviews and long-term career development.

Where will the company be in 3-5 years? How do I fit into that plan?

This question is great for a variety of reasons. Does the company have a concrete answer? A company that lacks a destination more than likely lacks a map. And without a map, well, you’re walking into a risky situation. This is a chance for you to learn, early on, what your role and influence can be at the company. Make sure their vision for you at the company is a vision with which you’re happy!

Could I meet with some of my future colleagues?

Most companies will include some of your colleagues in an interview, but if they don’t, ask if you can meet a few. After all – the person(s) you’re interviewing with are only a small sampling of the company. This is a big decision. You need to know the people with whom you might be spending 40 hours a week.

What would a successful first year look like?

Simple question. But a good one. It gives you a good frame of reference of what to expect if you were to be hired. For me, anything beyond a first year is pretty hard to state. But, we’re a very small organization with a constantly changing organizational chart, so success is hard to map out beyond 365 days at the personal level.

What difficulties have others in this role had?

Here’s a chance for you to address obvious pain points that the company has. If your skill sets will help combat the difficulties that others had, let them know. Trust me – they’ll want to hear. And if you think you’ll struggle as well, be open and frank, but be sure to address how you’d handle such challenges.

What can I do before my next interview that would make me a better candidate?

This is easily the question that impresses me the most. Often, the answer is “nothing.” But, sometimes, there’s a quick tweak you can make or training you can put yourself through to make yourself a better candidate. If you ask this, and then you go through with what’s asked, you’ll impress. Guaranteed.

What hesitations do you have?

In a similar vein as the above, ask for feedback. Inquire what the big question marks are with you as the hire for the job. More than likely – they’ll answer. You’ll need to have thick skin, but again, this feedback can only help you. And hey – the feedback they give you may be a hesitation with something you’re not willing to change. That’s fair. Again – you’re both trying to find a fit. Not just one of you.

How will I grow as a person and as an employee?

At Gorilla, we take pride in hiring good people. People who want to leave the world better than they found it. Just like we want our employees to work hard for our clients between the hours of 9-5 (roughly), we also want them to work hard to become fine people outside of work hours. This is really important to our culture and who we are as a company. So hearing this from a potential hire would be music to my ears.

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