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Good Questions to Ask When Inquiring About a Job Position

by Neil Kokemuller

Toward the end of an interview, a hiring manager normally asks if you have questions about the job. This is your opportunity to learn more about the company and job, while also showing genuine interest in the position. You should always come prepared with a few pertinent questions. But time is sometimes limited, so selectivity and prioritization are important.

Culture

"Can you please describe your organizational culture?" or "Could you explain your organizational structure?" are examples of questions that may help you gain insight into what makes the organization tick. As the prospect, you want to ensure that the values and philosophies of the organization align with your own. If the hiring manager describes the culture as "fast-paced, intense and competitive," and your personality is "laid-back, casual and cooperative," you might need to keep looking.

Position History

Specific to the position, a question about its history and persistence is useful. You could ask "How long has this position been around?" or "Why did the previous person in this position leave?" Responses to these questions can offer insights into the security of a job and the value the prior employee placed in it. If the hiring manager tells you it is a relatively new position and the last person left for a job at another company, you have reason for concern. You will likely have to read between the lines in this case. A more positive response is "We have always had this position and the last person retired after 30 years."

Role

A question about the role of the position in the organization can help you learn and show your interest. You could ask "How does this position fit into the department or organization and what employees would I regularly interact with?" The response gives you some insights into the value the hiring manager places on the position and the reporting responsibilities. Asking this type of question also shows that you have considered your responsibilities if hired.

Typical Day

To further discover whether the job is a good fit for you, you could ask "What is the typical day in this position?" Employers often list job duties in a posting, but don't necessarily break them down by time commitment. You might learn that much of a typical day is spent administratively and only one to two hours is spent with clients or co-workers. If you want a position with more people involvement, this may not work. Hopefully, the hiring manager's answer aligns with your basic expectations and sounds like how you would prefer to spend a typical day at work.

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