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When you’re getting ready for a job interview, you’re probably thinking about all the questions your interviewer will ask you.
How would I describe myself as an employee? What are my greatest strengths and weaknesses? If I were an app, what would I be?!
While preparing for interview questions is essential, don’t forget to show up with some questions of your own.
Asking thoughtful, well-crafted questions can show you’ve done your research on the organization and are genuinely interested in learning how you can contribute.
What’s more, the right questions can also show you’ve made an intentional choice to work remotely and are prepared for the challenges that telecommuting could present.
And don’t forget, the interview is also an opportunity for you to learn more and make sure the job would be a good fit for you.
13 good questions to ask in a job interview
So what are some of the best questions to ask in a job interview, especially when you’re going after a work-from-home role?
Here are 13 lucky questions that will reveal you to be the savvy, prepared job-seeker you are.
(By the way, don’t fire all 13 questions at your job interviewer, but choose a select few to ask throughout and at the end of your conversation!)
1. What can I expect the day-to-day to look like in this position?
If you haven’t already discussed this, ask your interviewer what a typical day or week would look like. Not only will this give you a sense of the role, but it might also prompt your interviewer to picture you in the job.
The answer could also spark more conversation. If part of the day involves writing articles, for instance, you might share talk about how you spent mornings writing in your last job and discovered the hours when you were laser-focused.
Asking about the day-to-day responsibilities will help you understand what the work will involve beyond the broad strokes picture you got in the job description.
2. What do you hope someone in this role will accomplish in the first six months? How about within the first year?
After you’ve asked about the day-to-day, shift your focus to the big picture by asking about long-term goals.
Your interviewer might tell you about big projects you wouldn’t have heard about otherwise. This dialogue could make it start to feel like you’re already part of the team.
Plus, you’ll get a sense of the company’s timeline and whether the team expects you to dive right in or will give you some time to get up to speed.
3. If I were to get this job, what could I do right away to hit the ground running?
By asking about next steps, you can show your interviewer you’re excited to contribute right away. You might also ask what your first priority would be as a new hire or how you can on-board successfully. You’ll learn what to expect, and your employer will see that you’re eager to start off on the right foot.
4. How would you describe your ideal candidate for this role, and what can I do to fulfill that vision?
Phil Laboon, president of Eyeflow Internet Marketing, told LinkedIn that the question that most impressed him during a job interview was, “Who’s your ideal candidate and how can I make myself more like them?”
According to Laboon, this question showed him the candidate was excited to make themselves the best employee possible.
You could also ask, “What are some of the most important qualities someone in this position should have?” or “What differentiated people who succeeded in this position in the past from ones who didn’t stand out as much?”
Some variation of this question will show you’re thinking about how you can succeed in the role and bring value to the organization.
5. How do you see the responsibilities of this position changing over the next three years?
Hubstaff cofounder Jared Brown said this question was one of his favorites. According to Brown, asking about how the position will change suggests the candidate is looking to grow as a professional.
Asking this question also indicates you want a challenging job. And you’ll get a sense of whether this job will help you develop new skills and achieve your long-term goals.
6. How will you evaluate success for the person in this role?
If the job description didn’t already discuss evaluations, ask about the expectations for someone in this role. Learn what it means to be successful and conversely, what a disappointing performance might look like.
As with the previous question, this query suggests you’re committed to your professional growth. You want to do well and have a clear understanding of how success would be measured.
7. How would you describe the culture here?
Cultural fit is an important consideration, especially in a remote role. Some companies, even though they’re distributed, have a close-knit team that communicates over Slack all day and gets together at in-person retreats.
Others might not expect much communication as long as you keep up with deadlines and are reachable when they need you. And if you’re interviewing for a work-from-home job with a company that has an office, make sure you won’t feel isolated from the rest of the team.
Most hiring managers are looking for “cultural fit,” so explicitly bringing up the topic of culture can show whether or not you’d be a match.
8. Since this team is remote, what’s your approach to communication? What methods do you use to keep people connected and enable collaboration?
As a remote employee, you’ll probably need to know how to use communication apps, such as Slack, Zoom, Asana, Skype, and of course, email. Asking about the channels of communication will show that you’re interested in how the team interacts.
You might even share an idea for a new technology that enables collaboration across different locations.
9. How does working remotely enable the team to achieve its goals? Has it posed any challenges?
This question is another opportunity to learn about the company’s approach to remote working. If you’re joining a company that’s entirely distributed, they might be really passionate about the freedom and work-life balance that comes with working remotely.
At the same time, that doesn’t mean that location independence doesn’t have its challenges. You could also ask about any issues that have arisen and how the team has dealt with them together.
10. What are the main pain points the company is facing right now? What about the major challenges someone in this position will face?
If nothing else, make sure to ask about challenges facing the company right now. Not only will you get a clearer sense of a company’s pain points, but you’ll then have a platform to discuss how you can help solve them.
Ultimately, a hiring manager is looking for someone who can add value and contribute in a positive way. With this question, you can remind them of the company’s obstacles and discuss how you could clear a path for them to achieve their goals.
11. What are some big-picture goals for the company in the coming year? What about in the next five years?
Along similar lines, ask about the company’s one-year and five-year goals. Not only will it show that you’re thinking about how you can propel the business forward, but the answer to this will also give you insight into the company’s plans for the future.
12. How will my work contribute to the mission of the organization as a whole?
CEO of Likable, Dave Kerpen, wrote that one of his favorite questions to ask in a job interview was, “How will the work I’ll be doing contribute to the organization’s mission?”
For one, it’s a chance to show that you did your research on the company and understand its guiding mission statement. And second, it shows that you’re looking to join a team and contribute to a larger purpose.
13. What do you like about working here?
If you feel comfortable turning the tables on your interviewer, you could ask them what they like about working at the company. After all, you want to make sure you’re joining a workplace where employees are relatively happy.
If your question is met with a long silence, that could be a red flag. But if their answer matches what you’re looking for in your next job, you can feel confident that the position and company culture could be a good fit.
What you shouldn’t ask in your job interview
They say there are no bad ideas in brainstorming, but the same doesn’t really apply to questions to ask in a job interview. Although there are lots of great questions to ask, there are also some you should probably avoid.
For instance, you want your questions to dig deep, rather than ask about trivial facts or information that you could easily find online. Instead of asking, “When was the company founded?” or “What is its mission statement?” do some preliminary research to find these answers for yourself.
Along similar lines, avoid asking basic information that can be found in the job description, such as, “What are the main responsibilities of this role?” and “What qualifications are you looking for in this job?”
In most cases, you should already know these details, so asking about them could make it seem like you didn’t pay attention. Finally, you probably don’t want to leave an impression that you can’t flourish in a remote working environment.
If you ask your interviewer, “How do you avoid getting totally bored working from home?” or “Do you have any tips for getting work done and not just watching Netflix all day?” your interviewer could get the sense you struggle with productivity without someone looking over your shoulder.
By doing some digging on the organization before you interview, you won’t end up looking uninformed.
Prepare thoughtful questions to ask in your job interview
It’s easy to feel put on the spot when you’re in a job interview. Discussing your qualifications and proving you’re the best person for a role is no small feat.
But don’t forget that the hiring process is a two-way street, and an interview is also a chance for you to learn more about a job and make sure it’s a good fit for you.
Showing up prepared with questions to ask during a job interview will show that you’ve done your homework on the organization and are eager to learn more.
So make sure to brainstorm ideas before interview day so you can feel confident and prepared going into the conversation.
After all, it might just lead to your next great job.