10 Probing Questions Candidates Should Ask Their Interviewers, Part 2
For job seekers, interviews can be nerve-wracking. The employer has something that you desperately want — your dream job — and you can’t force them to give it to you. All you can do is gently persuade them you are the perfect candidate.
It’s no wonder you’re nervous. The problem is that these nerves can send you into your shell. This is a flawed self-preservation strategy. If you’re not an outgoing, actively questioning interviewee, most employers will think that means you’re not terribly interested in the job.
Moreover, by not asking lots of questions, you miss the chance to uncover some valuable information about the role.
Yesterday, I offered a list of five critically important questions that candidates should ask at interviews — no matter what their nerves might tell them. Today, I offer five more of such questions:
6. How Does the Company Recognize Outstanding Achievements and Exceptional Performance?
If you are an achiever who is motivated by rewards and recognition, you’ll want to join a company that fuels your performative flame the right way. Ask this question to learn more about bonus schemes, performance-related pay, and other recognition programs. If the company doesn’t have anything like that in place, it may be a huge red flag for you.
7. What Was the Average Annual Pay Raise Last Year? / What Was the Average Bonus Payout for a High-Performer at My Level?
This is the best way to understand the true reward climate within the business. It cuts through the branding and window dressing to get to the heart of the matter.
Some employers may not be prepared to offer this information, and others will only be able to give you a ballpark figure. Either way, the information you receive will help you form a more realistic picture of the pay schemes at the company.
8. Are There Any Weaknesses in My Application?
Knowledge is power, and knowing what your weaknesses are in the eyes of the employer gives you the opportunity to address them.
For example, are your skills in a certain area being underestimated? If so, give the employer evidence that you are, in fact, very skilled in the seemingly deficient area.
Asking this question gives you the opportunity to patch up any holes in your application that you are not aware of, whereas failing to ask this could damage your chances of landing the role.
9.What Are the Promotion Prospects Like?
If you are an ambitious type who wants to get ahead, you cannot avoid asking this question. A lack of career progression opportunities is one of the main reasons employees leave their jobs. A failure to probe deeply and fully understand the promotion possibilities within the business could mean you end up taking a dead-end role. Ask this question to ensure that the employer’s career prospects match your own expectations.
Some follow-up questions you may want to ask include:
- Are all jobs internally advertised before going public?
- How many people have been promoted in your department in the last year or so?
- What would be the natural role to progress into after this one? How often does someone move from this position up into the next one?
10. Are You Willing to Negotiate the Package?
People may worry that asking this question makes them sound greedy, But, the reality is that most interviewers expect you to negotiate. Many of them even purposely start with a lower figure so that they have room to negotiate.
Unless the advertised salary scale is actually lower than your expectations, it’s best that you save this question until you have received an offer. You don’t want to seem presumptive!
Remember: You don’t have to ask all of these questions — just the ones that matter to you. Be sure, however, that you do ask smart, probing, interesting questions. Doing so could be the difference between landing your dream job and ending up in a low-paying dead-end role at a company you hate.
Plus, employers like it when you seem interested in the role.