When preparing for an interview, we often dedicate our attention to preparing answers to the interviewer’s questions. But, preparing for the wrap-up question, “Do you have any questions for us?” is just as critical.
For job seekers, the U.S. job market remains in their favor; as of August 2022, there are two job openings for every unemployed person. Yet, as recession fears loom, many U.S. companies are scaling back on aggressive hiring, especially in the tech sector.
When interviewing in a shifting hiring environment, it is essential to pose questions that will help you assess whether the role is the right fit and how your potential employer plans to navigate challenges.
Make the questions yours
When preparing for your job interview, consider what’s most important to you in an employer and frame your questions around those qualities. “We’re all unique—one size doesn’t fit all regarding the questions,” says Emily Hann, people and culture manager at Redbrick, a Victoria-based portfolio of tech companies. “I suggest reflecting on what is important to you with your next employer so that you can navigate the conversation accordingly.”
Assess the culture (in-office or at home)
Leah Pecoskie, Director of Talent Acquisition at Ceridian, a human resources software company, agrees. “Stay away from generic questions,” she says.“When you’re asking about, for example, corporate culture, what exactly is it about the corporate culture you’re hoping to hear about?” Instead, ask something specific, like whether the employer has a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy and what progress they’ve made in that area.
To further assess company culture, especially when working remotely, you can consider questions like:
- How do you invest in engaging your employees individually? As teams?
- How do your teams communicate about work? How do they build strong relationships?
- How do you gather remote/hybrid teams that aren’t together in person?
Do you want me to grow?
You will also want to know how committed your potential employer is to your professional development. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Future of Jobs report (pdf), 94% of the surveyed business leaders say they expect employees to pick up new skills, up from 65% in 2018. The report also predicts that by 2025, 44% of the skills needed to perform your role will change.
To assess how your employer plans on supporting that skill-building and professional growth, Hann and Pecoskie recommend the following questions:
- What would my first week look like?
- What is my training or onboarding plan?
- Where do you expect me to be at the three-month mark? The six-month mark?
- What does a successful career path look like at your company? How would I be measured for it?
- How does my new leader support the growth of the individuals on their team?
- Does your company offer any professional development opportunities or stipends?
What are their plans to sustain or grow success?
Whether in times of economic uncertainty or not, you will want to gauge the financial stability of your potential employer. While asking your interviewer for financial statements may be a bit extreme, Hann and Pecoskie say you can ask other questions that can shed light on their financial health, including:
- How have your bonuses typically been paid out in the past?
- What are some successful milestones that you have recently hit? How did you reward those closest to the success?
- Have you added any new members to your team recently?
- How has hiring at your company changed over the past year (or two)?
Know your stuff
While there are many questions you should consider asking your interviewer, one that you should avoid is asking what the company does. “Employers want to know you’re not just looking for any role and sending your resume and applications to any company,” says Hann. “They also want to know that you’re specifically interested in their company.”
Job interviews, like your possible employment, are a two-way street: you are both assessing whether this is a good fit, and preparation makes the decision easier for you both.
Looking for a flexible job with better work-life balance? Our rankings are in. Discover the best places to work remotely on Quartz’s 2022 Best Companies for Remote Workers list.