Questions To Ask The Employer
isn’t supposed to be a one-way street where only the
employer has the opportunity to ask questions. You need to
ask a few of your own to determine how suitable this
The first thing to determine is how stable this
position is and what prospects for advancement there are. Is
this a static position that has little opportunity for
growth or is it a position that offers the ability to
interact with other departments, learn new skills and be
challenged in the future?
Why are they looking?
What happened to the person who was in this position?
A general question to find out why the person left and
what the attitudes are towards the incumbent. It will also
provide information on where the person has moved on within
the company. This lets you know what the promotional
How long have you been looking?
Find out if they are in a panic or if they are taking
a more measured approach to this hiring. Also, if they have
been looking for a long time, maybe your negotiating
position will be strengthened if you have the skills they
How has the position become available?
Did the incumbent quit suddenly or was there a
promotion internally, or are they unhappy with the person
that they have?
How often do you look to fill this job?
Informs you whether or not it is a position that has a
high turnover, a position that is vacant only rarely or if
it has been newly created.
After you establish why they are looking, you need to
understand what they are looking for. Not every position has
a growth curve. Do you have what they require and will you
be happy with the scope of the responsibilities in the long
What are they looking for?
What is the most challenging part of this job?
This gives you a sense of whether or not the
interviewer understands the demands of the job and the
expectations placed on the successful candidate.
What role will I play in the department?
This will indicate how important your job is in the
organizational scheme of things. It gives you a sense of the
level of responsibility involved and how visible the
position is for future promotions.
What kind of person has been successful in this job
(in the past)?
Understand the personality traits they are looking
for. Different jobs demand different levels of aggression,
patience, interpersonal skills, ability to work with or
without support and the ability to withstand pressure and
stress. Make sure that the demands of the job reflect your
basic style and personal orientation.
How will you measure my performance?
It is important that you know what the expectations of
performance are and what factors they will review to assess
your progress. Are the standards and benchmarks realistic
and achieveable? As recruiters we often see people who are
attracted by the higher income and greater reponsibilities
of a career move, only to find out in the fullness of time
that the expectations are either unrealistic or not suitable
to their level of skill or knowledge.
What does the future hold?
If you are going to assume the risk of making a career
move, you want to ensure that there are prospects for long
term job satisfaction. Where will you progress to in the
company? The best promotional opportunities occur in
positions of higher risk. What can they offer you in the way
of growth and in what general time-frame?
Where will I go within the company in the future?
This will tell you what you can look forward to. If
there is a clear path of succession mapped out within the
department, then you are more likely to be happier in the
long-term. If this position is a good entry point into the
firm, you may have more options for growth in different
departments. If the interviewer or hiring manager is vague
or non-committal about your prospects, there may be limited
scope in the future.
These are a few of the questions that you can consider
when assessing the suitability of an employer. You owe it to
yourself to have a clear understanding of their expectations
to avoid making a move for short term gain but long-term