15 Smart Questions to Ask Your Interviewer

15 Smart Questions to Ask Your Interviewer
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

📌 I am writing this article from the interviewer position for you, the one looking for a new job and being involved in several interviews.

There's no surprise that the current IT market is fast-evolving, with lots of opportunities, and lots of big and small companies creating software products, and nowadays, there's a huge need for specialists. Almost every company (and I'm looking here only to the IT companies, I haven't looked for data about other sectors) is looking to fill in a role, be it a back-end developer, a front-end, a full-stack, a quality assurance engineer, a network administrator, you name it.

Every company is tailoring its own interviewing process, hoping to find those great specialists to hire.

At the company I'm currently working for, there's a chain of several discussions to be held if you want to get hired. The first one is a discussion with the recruiter from where a candidate profile is created. This step is quite an important one as it gives us information about the motivation the candidate has for being in the interviewing process, highlighting the candidate's strong points for the role, and also provides us with a glimpse into the candidate's personal and professional development plans. As the recruiters are people with good communication and soft skills, they're also doing a cultural fit assessment by asking the candidate a set of questions.

After this first discussion with the recruiter, it comes the second one, the technical interview, where several areas of competence are evaluated, helping us get a more in-depth image of the candidate.

If everything goes well and the candidate "passes" the first two interviews, it gets to the last one, the interview with the Technical Managers, which is quite an informal discussion, where we present the candidate an overview of the company, the projects we are working on, giving the candidate more details about the technology stack we are using, processes, plans for the future, how we work, etc.

I've written all the above to give you a glimpse into the whole recruiting process that we currently follow, which is very similar to most of the other IT companies (at least from Cluj-Napoca), a process which makes everyone involved in it (candidates and interviewers) to invest a lot of time in getting to know each other and getting to a point where both parts are comfortable in taking the decision of working together.

So, going back to the last phase, where we have the informal discussion with the candidate. We usually don't follow any script, and we don't have a story to play, but we adapt our conversation to each candidate we are speaking with and we try to engage that person in the conversation. And of course, we're also getting to the point where to ask:

What questions do you have for us?

And we usually get the same set of questions, with a few variations:

  • How's the reviewing process looking?
  • Which is the project I am going to work on?
  • Do I need to work directly with the client?
  • What learning opportunities will I have in this role?

As you can see, we are not too challenged and we're not facing hard times in trying to find answers to difficult questions :) For some time I thought we were doing such a great job in explaining everything, but I know it's not that. Candidates are just not trying to find out more about the companies they are having job interviews with (and of course, this is not a rule).

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

💡 So, if you're someone looking for a new job and having interviews, here are some questions for you to ask your interviewer.

These questions will not only make you look more thoughtful, and more interested in finding a good job, but a more mature professional and I can tell your chances to find a good match for you are getting higher.

  1. What are your expectations from me in this role?
  2. How's the onboarding process looking?
  3. What's the most important thing I should accomplish in the first 30-60-90 days?
  4. What types of challenges I might face working for you / on a specific project?
  5. Which are some strengths/weaknesses of the team I will be part of?
  6. Will I interact with other specialists/engineers outside of my team?
  7. Do you expect my responsibilities in this role/position to change often?
  8. Tell me something you consider to be important about my future direct manager.
  9. What gets you most excited about the company’s future?
  10. How has the company changed over the last few years?
  11. What made you pick this company to work for? (this is actually a question I got from one of the candidates :-) )
  12. How do you onboard and keep engaged/satisfied the employees working remotely?
  13. Do you have any office traditions?
  14. Which are the values the company cares about the most?
  15. Where have successful employees moved on to?

At every job interview, you have this great chance of asking questions and I'm sure you don't want to waste it. It's not just about proving to the interviewer that you are a good fit, but also proving to yourself that the company you are talking with is a good fit for you. Of course, you are not going to ask all these 15 questions, most probably due to time constraints, that's why I recommend you select the ones that are the most relevant to you, the position you are looking for, and the ones which bring more value for you as an individual.

Good luck in job hunting! :)