Susie Buysse, Associate Director
TMMBA partners with Executive MBA Career Services on the weekly Job Search group. Recently, the topic of interviewing surfaced on our weekly call. We talked about the importance of preparing a message and a list of ten to fifteen thoughtful questions to ask. We certainly hear that interviewers judge candidates by their questions. It is also an opportunity for you to gather additional information on the responsibilities and determine if this is a job you can and want to do.
A few key points to remember:
- Make sure to ask questions that demonstrate your broad business knowledge.
- Ask sophisticated questions on topics you did not find answered in your research.
- Catch the details. The best questions you can ask come from listening.
- Write down your questions and take them with you to the interview. You can then pull out your list and ask the ones that haven’t been previously answered. This will highlight your interview preparation and set you apart from the competition.
Your questions might include (divided by category):
- Can you tell me a little more about the organization and position before we get started? (if unclear about their needs)
- Is there anything more you can tell me about this position? What results do you expect to see from someone in this position?
- What is the most important contribution you would like to see accomplished during the first three months? What are some of the longer term objectives you would like to complete?
- Beyond the job description, what are your expectations?
- What are the three most important strategic objectives for this year?
- What do you see as the most difficult challenge in this position?
- What would be the next career step? Are there opportunities for advancement?
- Why is the position open? Is this a new position or would I replace someone?
- Is there a career path for this position?
Organization & culture:
- What is it like to work here? Can you describe a typical day?
- Why did you join the organization?
- How are decisions made? What is the decision making process?
- Can you describe your leadership / management style?
- How is this department perceived in the organization?
- Can you outline the organizational structure in this department/company?
- What organizational changes do you see in the near future?
- Does the organization support ongoing formal training programs and continued education?
- Is there a formal performance appraisal system? How often is performance reviewed? How is successful performance rewarded?
- Is there any additional information you need in evaluating my fit for the position?
- Do you have any questions or concerns about my ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the position?
- What will be the next step? When do you think you will make a decision on the candidate for this position?
- Is there anything else you would like to know about me in terms of my strengths and how I can make a contribution?
A solid resource for additional preparation is 201 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interviewby John Kador. I particularly like chapter eight, “Questions for Hiring Managers” which includes questions on corporate culture and general business objectives.