19 questions to ask during a job interview, according to the boss of a top recruiter

Twice a year I update my list of questions to ask during a job interview. It helps to have such a list with you for that moment when the employer asks: “Do you have any questions about our company?”

When I last updated the questions last year, we were all just a little too impressed by the catastrophe that unfolded around the world in 2020. Now that we can look back with new insights, we see that the coronavirus caused a sudden and catastrophic decline in the labor market. Followed by a gradual improvement. Overall, the outlook for employment is positive. It is even possible that the labor market will be at pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year. That’s good news for job seekers. Below are nineteen simple questions you can ask to gain relevant insights about your future colleagues and employer. Which people do well here? What type of employee is successful at this company? And which not?

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2. How has working from home affected team productivity? What have been good ways to encourage it? And what didn’t work?

3. How did you get started in this sector? Why did you stay? What motivates you?

4. Throughout my career I have mainly worked in large/small/growth/independent/private/public/family companies. How successful do you think I can be within this company?

5. In what ways has Covid impacted your team and this company? Has that impact been different from other departments?

6. What has been one of the keys to success for this company that outsiders don’t know about?

7. What is your leadership style? Or that of my future supervisor?

8. Can you describe the work rhythm? Are there fixed times (annually, monthly or weekly) when it is ‘all hands on deck’ and we have to work overtime? Or is the workload constant?

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9. Which competitor are you most concerned about?

10. What keeps you awake at night? What are your biggest concerns for the future?

11. Who are my customers (internal and external) and how do they rate us? Who sees me and the team as a customer?

12. What is the timeline for a decision on this position?

13. What company information is shared with employees? Are you open with this or is it treated confidentially?

14. What does a successful 2022 look like for you? What needs to be done for this in the coming months?

15.What are the plans for the post-Covid era? What does ‘normal’ look like to you? Will working from home or flexible working still be part of that?

17. In the past 12 months, have you been forced to reorganize or cut jobs or hours? And can this be expected in the near future?

18. Is this a new or existing position I am applying for? If it is new: why was this workplace created and what are the expectations? If this feature existed, what happened to my predecessor? What did this person do well and what do you expect from the new employee?

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19. Suppose we have been working together for six months. What will have been the biggest surprise for me at that time?

All these questions are not meant to sound like an overzealous prosecutor. You want to present yourself to someone who is interested but not committed yet. So somewhere in the middle of mildly interested and moderately enthusiastic, depending on your personal preference. Here’s a key tip when asking these questions. Choose three or four that you ask for each application. By doing that, you get a good overview of where companies differ and what kind of people work there. Good luck with your conversations!

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Marc Cenedella is the founder of Ladders, a career site for job openings with an annual salary of more than a ton.

Author: Jobly