5 Important Questions To Ask After An Interview
After each job interview, the interviewer would usually ask if there’s anything you’d like to clarify. Often we might feel too shy to ask questions, but it’s actually an important part of the session, for two main reasons:
- It gives you more insight into the company to allow you to make a better decision
- It shows the employers your proactivity and curiosity (which is great!)
If you’re feeling stuck, here are some questions you can ask:
1. What is the company’s vision, mission and values? How is it actively being practised?
The first part of the question is pretty straightforward. Companies usually have blanket statements on what their overall goal is and what they are working towards. However, the second part of the question then gives you a better idea of whether or not they take their own goals seriously. It’s easy to have vision or mission statements that make the company look good from the outside, but how is it applied and integrated into the business model and day to day work?
Also, you feel a lot more fulfilled when you can align with the company’s goals. This is especially when times are tough, being reminded of the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ keeps you motivated. If you are not able to agree with the core of the company, you would not be able to grow; nor would you be able to contribute. As such, it’s important to consider how the company’s values align with yours.
2. What types of training or development opportunities does the company provide?
This is to understand how much they invest into their people; whether or not there are constant opportunities to upskill and reskill yourself as well as to learn new skills. As much as on-the-job training is crucial for hands-on experiences, formal training is also important in professional development. If a company is too stingy to invest in their people, you’d also then understand that the learning curve will be limited.
More importantly, it’s to evaluate whether or not the company has a growth mindset. Some companies expect their individual employees to adopt a growth mindset – to be able to embrace challenges, draw lessons from their experiences and continuously improve – which is important. However, it is ironic if they demand that of their staff but do not set an example through their company culture and talent development initiatives.
The world is constantly evolving and new skills are required every day. If companies want to be able to disrupt business norms and introduce creative innovation, they need to invest in their people. If they don’t, there might not be a ‘future’ in the company as it goes obsolete.
3. Are there opportunities for internal transfers or secondments to explore different roles?
This allows your career to be more interesting and exciting, especially if you’re not the type who enjoys repetitive work. Also, internal transfers are always easier and better than moving to a new company (when there is a need to consider this). Ask also about whether or not there are chances to join secondment programmes to overseas regional offices, which gives you the opportunity to travel too!
It’s pretty simple: good companies would want to keep their good people. This means that they understand the value you bring in and know you would thrive in various roles. As such, they wouldn’t try to tie you down in a place where you are not feeling fulfilled but should be willing to match your credentials and interests based on the business needs.
4. What is the increment or promotion structure like?
You might feel this gives off the wrong impression about being too money-minded, but the reality is that we all need a good wage to live well. This is also about how fair the company is and whether or not they truly cherish merit, and whether your hard work and effort will get the recognition it deserves. You don’t want to be stuck at the same pay grade for years, nor do you want to find out about the lack of structure only upon entrance. So don’t feel shy about asking this, in fact, get this out of the way as soon as possible!
Of course, this doesn’t have to be the sole factor when considering a job, but we cannot ignore its importance. If you feel like you’re at the stage of life where learning and growing are more important than compensation and benefits then good for you! However, we need to get rid of the taboo revolving around discussing our wages (both internally and externally) and promote the need for salary transparency.
5. What stage of growth is the company in? How much am I expected to commit to facilitating this stage of growth?
This question gives you insight into many things: the flow of work (whether it’s a flat structure or hierarchical), whether you’d be expected to work long hours or how fast paced the environment would be. For example, if it’s a startup, the nature of work might be a lot more fast-paced and random compared to a well-established company. Startups usually lack proper structure or formal communication channels, as such, you might be expected to do a lot more than what was initially in your job scope, and to liaise with people all throughout the company in different means. Whereas in larger or older firms, there might already be standards of how things are done.
This also gives insight into its emphasis on work-life balance and the hours you’re expected to commit. As a single young adult, working long hours might not be a problem. However, as you start your family, you might want to be able to set more time aside for your private life. There’s no right or wrong in this expectation – some companies expect higher levels of commitment, and some people are willing to give it – it’s up to your personal preferences. However, it’s tricky when expectations do not align only when you enter the firm. Similar to the previous question, it’s good to get this out of the way as early as possible.
Finding a job is not an easy process, but being stuck in a job that is unfulfilling or in a company that does not cherish you (or your values) is even harder. You might feel the need to land and secure a job as soon as possible, but spending more time in the job-hunting process might save you a lot of heartache and burdens in the future. It might just “be a job”, but if you’re going to spend so many hours doing it, you might as well find something, or somewhere, where you can truly enjoy yourself.
For further reading, check out our First Jobber series here!