Tom Gimbel is the President and CEO of LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based staffing firm. Founded in 1998, LaSalle has served thousands of clients and candidates, placing job seekers in temporary, temporary-to-permanent and permanent positions. LaSalle is the only Illinois-based staffing firm named on the Inc. 500/5000 list for the last seven consecutive years. ReadTom’s latest on his blog, Past Five, or tweet him @TomGimbel.
Our firm interviews hundreds of candidates a week and too many of them commit one of the cardinal sins of interviewing, failing to prepare for one, crucial question: “What questions do you have for me?”
An interview is a two-way conversation, and a lack of questions demonstrates a disinterest in the position and a lack of preparation for the interview. Asking intelligent questions is not only an easy way to impress the hiring manager, but it is beneficial for the candidate, too. It is an opportunity to evaluate if the company is a right fit for them.
Here are five questions to consider asking in your next interview:
1. Why do you like working here?
A candidate should never assume they will hear what is expected. It’s extremely important to see if the interviewer is happy, and find out why from them directly. Based off their answer, candidates can decipher whether or not it is something in line with what they are looking for.
2. What characteristics do you need to have to succeed in the role?
This question demonstrates that the candidate is eager to excel, interested in career growth, and willing to commit to the company and their role within it.
3. What are the company’s long and short term goals? What are the biggest obstacles to achieving them?
This proves the candidate is already considering how he/she can contribute to achieving the company’s goals.
4. Why is this position open?
Understanding the nature of the vacancy will help the candidate better understand the urgency of filling the position. Based on the answer, the candidate can try to figure out whether the employee quit or was fired. If they quit, then you begin to wonder, why? Was the person in this role previously promoted? Fired? Quit? Is it a newly created position? The reason for the vacancy can say a lot about the company and who the right candidate for the role is. Maybe you are looking for a work-life balance and the previous employee quit due to 60-hour workweeks.
5. Do you have any hesitations about my background?
If you don’t ask this question, employers are more than likely going to keep objections unvoiced and you lose any chance of counteracting the interviewer’s doubts about you. If you don’t ask any other questions during the interview, ask this one. It’s the single most important question.