Job interviews are always challenging, especially for IT professionals. Some businesses ask hard-hitting technical questions to narrow the field of candidates. But IT job candidates also have a wide range of choices, especially if they work in a highly-specialized field. For that reason, it’s important to use the interview process to determine if the job is the right fit for both sides.
At the end of every interview, skilled hiring managers always ask the candidate if he or she has any questions about the job. This is the prime opportunity to get the answers you need beyond the basics of the job, salary, and any benefits or perks.
Here are six great questions that can help you determine your fit with a company.
1. What is typical day like?
Even if your potential employer has detailed the basic job description, which, let’s face it, they probably haven’t. You likely won’t get a true feel for the day-to-day duties of the job until you start, but it’s good to know what you’re getting into.
To get a head start on this, ask what a typical day looks like for a person who holds the position. This gives you the opportunity give examples about times you’ve worked specifically (or generally) with those systems, functions, or roles. It also lets you know whether you’ll like the job. It can go either way.
Note: Ask this question as early as possible into the interview. Ideally, you’ll get the nitty gritty details in during the initial screening phone call.
2. What qualities does a person need to succeed in this position?
This shows that you are concerned about doing your best in the job, and elicits the information you need to determine if it’s the right fit. It also opens the door to expound on how you possess those characteristics. You’ll be using their words to describe your skills.
Keep in mind that they’re probably either describing the person who just left — either in their brilliance or shortcomings. Thus, this question tell you quite a bit about the environment, personalities involved, and the company values.
3. Will continuing education opportunities be available?
IT professionals already know that to remain competitive, they need to regularly update their skills. A company that provides training as a job perk could be more valuable to your long-term career than one that pays more, but doesn’t offer learning opportunities. When we say training, we’re talking about CBT Nuggets with Jeremy Cioara and Keith Barker, and also conferences and tuition reimbursement.
4. Will I have opportunities to advance?
Sure, you might not be looking far enough ahead to retire at that company, but how about the next five years? Just as continuing education is important to your future, so is your ability to pursue career advancement with a company. If you’re looking for ways to move into management or pursue a more advanced career track, make sure the outlook is positive before moving to the next phase of the hiring process.
As a follow-up question, you can ask about the organizational structure of your department. If you’re a lone IT pro, then ask whether they have plans to fill in the department beneath you. Conversely, ask who reports to whom in the echelons above you. Get a sense of the landscape.
5. What is your most successful project?
This question can lead the interviewer to detail information about the types of projects you’ll be working on if you’re hired. If the answer is a relatively short one, ask follow-up questions to determine what specifically made that project more successful than others. Based on the answer, you can get a sense of their processes. If it doesn’t sound like they’ve ever had a successful rollout, then you’ve either found the perfect or worst job .
6. How will my performance be evaluated?
Regular performance evaluations have been tied to higher employee morale, when handled correctly. At the very least, they serve as a measuring stick for how you’re doing in the duties as outlined in your job description. A business doesn’t have to enforce a formal review process to provide feedback to employees, however. If your employer keeps an open line of communication with employees about how they’re doing, you’ll likely get access to the information you need.
As nerve-wracking as a job interview can be, if you arrive equipped with the right list of questions, you’ll be off to a great start. These questions will help you not only impress the potential employer with your preparedness, but they’ll also give you the answers you need to determine whether a job is the right fit for you.
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