It’s natural for candidates to enter the job interview eager to say and do the right thing, in order to get the job. But candidates also need to know that the job is the right fit for them. Here are the critical questions for candidates to ask during an interview.

We’ve written before about questions employers need to ask during job interviews. Employers need to know that a candidate has the job skills, as well as the communication and interpersonal skills necessary to do the job. Employers also need to know that a candidate is the right fit culturally, sharing the same values, so they will act under shared principles. But employers know far more about the role, the company, the team, the culture, and the processes than a candidate ever possibly could. How can candidates make sure the offered job is the right fit for them?

How is success measured?

If you accept the job, you naturally want to do well and be successful. So it’s important to find out what “success” looks like for this company, and this role. Some companies involve the whole team in a review process, some companies have elaborate metrics, some companies simply allow the supervisor to rate your performance. Ideally, the company will have a performance appraisal process that is inclusive, fair, and contextual.

  • Interview questions to determine how job success is determined:
    • What does “success” in this role look like to you?
    • How is employee performance measured? How often?
    • Do you have a performance review process? Can you describe it to me?

What will day-to-day work look like?

Naturally, interviews tend to focus on the extremes: the baseline skills or abilities needed, and then examples of stress, crisis, and problem management. But most of the time, in most positions, day-to-day work is a bit more mundane. Use the interview to gain more understanding of that day-to-day routine to find out if the job is the right fit for you.

  • Job interview questions to determine what the daily job is like:
    • Ask for a tour of the site and the work area where your job will be performed
    • If possible, meet people who will be on your team
    • When reviewing all the duties listed in the job description, ask what percentage of daily time is typically spent on each task. 

What are the biggest challenges in this job?

Experienced candidates typically know what to expect from the job itself, based on the title and description. But every job also comes with unexpected challenges that even experienced candidates may not have anticipated. These questions can also reveal problems with a company culture that an interviewer may not normally disclose, so they are important questions to ask. 

  • Interview questions to find out what challenges lie ahead:
    • How long do people typically stay in this position? 
    • Why is this position open?
    • What have other employees done after leaving this role? 

Get to know the interviewer

Many candidates overlook the interview as a crucial chance to not only learn more about the company and the position, but about the interviewer themselves. But asking about the interviewer can provide great insights into company culture, and into career growth and trajectory within a company. They also make a positive impression, since most people like to talk about themselves. Job interviews can be a great way to network and build industry connections, even if this role turns out not to be a good fit, so don’t miss the chance to ask some questions about the interviewer. 

  • Interview questions to find out about the interviewer:
    • Can you tell me more about your background and how you came to be in your role?
    • What do you like best about working for this company?
    • What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

Around the world, talented candidates are in high demand in nearly every industry. While everyone wants to do well at a job interview and get the offer, remember that the job interview is also a time to determine whether the job is the right role for you, now and into the future. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how you will be measured, what difficulties lie in store, and what other people have said about this job. Use online employee rating sites like Glassdoor for critical insights into company culture and leadership. And consider working with a recruiting firm like grapefrute, who pride themselves on making great matches for both employers and candidates.