Being nervous about going to job interviews and thrilled to receive the employment letter from your future employer? Well.. these are the steps of getting a new job. We all know that, right? What we tend to underestimate is the value of questions to ask the interviewer and what they can unlock. Every candidate should study what kind of questions to ask in an interview and which ones are more suitable, for example. Combined with company reviews or employee reviews, you will be able to have a comprehensive understanding of your prospective employer, and if you would actually want to work there, in the first place.
In this guide, we talk about why it’s important to evaluate your future employer, how you can do it, and how to interpret all the information you gathered.
While the best parts of finding a job are accepting the offer and signing the contract, how do you know the role is right for you? Well, before considering a job, it’s important to learn about your prospective employer.
Why evaluate your prospective employer?
By assessing your prospective employer, you’ll figure out if the open role fits your skills, expectations, and career development path. This way, you’ll be able to make a conscious and informed decision about your next professional step and find yourself in a better-tailored and more satisfactory working environment. Besides, it will definitely help you in your discussion with the recruiter and manage the company’s expectations.
A 360 evaluation process
Some organizations conduct a 360 performance review where managers receive collective feedback regarding their team’s performance from various stakeholders. The goal of such a review is to understand how different client groups perceive the team and individual team members so that potential improvements can be considered and implemented.
Benefits of questions to ask the interviewer
Interview questions aren’t only to decide if the candidate is right for the position, but also for the job seeker to find out if the position is right for them. That’s why, at the end of every interview, the inevitable “Do you have any questions?“ comes. Therefore, be prepared with a few questions to ask in an interview, for your prospective employer.
You want to find out as much as you can about the role, future growth opportunities, the team, and the interviewer. Here are some examples of questions to ask the interviewer:
- What are the most important skills needed to be successful in this position? It’s important to understand the key skills required to excel in this role and ensure you are well-equipped to meet the expectations.
- What are the biggest challenges of this position? By knowing the challenges associated with the role, you can evaluate your capabilities and determine if you have the necessary skills and experience to overcome them.
- Can you tell me about the company’s culture? Understanding the company’s culture is vital to ensure a good fit and alignment with your own values and work style.
Top five questions to ask the interviewer
Follow the advice above to evaluate your future employer and take it one step at a time. Don’t let stress overwhelm you and stop being worried about what to include in your resume.
- What does a typical day look like? Getting insight into the day-to-day activities and responsibilities can help you envision yourself in the role and understand the expectations.
- Does this position offer ongoing training? Inquiring about ongoing training opportunities shows your commitment to continuous learning and professional growth.
- Will this role’s job description change three months from now? Knowing if the role is subject to changes can help you assess the potential for evolution and adaptability within the position.
- Is there room for growth? Inquiring about growth opportunities demonstrates your long-term aspirations and ambitions within the company.
- Can you tell me about the people I’d be working with? Understanding the team dynamics and getting to know your potential colleagues can provide insights into the work environment and collaboration opportunities.
How to interpret the information you gain
How about we flip the logic we just discussed and consider the company research a ‘360 evaluation process’? Here’s how to do that.
What the company has to say
- Company reviews on their website: familiarize yourself with its activity, strategy, and Employer Value Proposition (EVP). Make sure you are aligned with the products and services that the organization offers and understand the employer’s intentions and proposition. Check if the company culture and values match your own or look into the corporate social responsibility (CSR) and charity activities, review the press releases and scan through available reports. Company reviews are important when evaluating your options.
- Employee reviews on social media: get familiar with the company’s profiles and social media sites, for example LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram. Depending on the activity area and maturity of an organization, various social media channels will be activated, including the less commonly known specialist sites. Therefore, organizations will typically share their information regarding ‘daily’ life in the organization, such as events the company takes part in, the release of the upcoming products and employee reviews. This makes it more tangible for you to understand how your typical day at work could look like.
- Visit a website that provides employee reviews: it’s beneficial to conduct research and analyze the information available on official channels with first-hand feedback from current or former employees. For example, visit sites like Glassdoor and Monster or have a look at conversations taking place on the company’s Facebook page. These pieces of information will help you understand how the employees perceive the organization “from the inside”.
- Engage with your network: more often than not, someone in your network works, used to work, or knows someone who worked for the organization you’re applying to. Don’t be shy and reach out to those individuals. You might be able to collect some valuable feedback there as well.
Depending on a product or service that the company provides, it’s worth checking what customers are saying about the company. To find out how satisfied they are with the service, you can read company reviews for example. You can understand a lot about how the organization manages its employees based on how it approaches its customers.
Questions to as an interviewer: how about awards?
There are multiple institutes and organizations which recognize and award companies for their working conditions, ethical values, or corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
Have a look at the awards and accreditations your prospective employer holds. Additionally, it’s important to inquire about these aspects during the interview process. Moreover, it’s crucial to ensure that these align with your personal values and beliefs. If you don’t find any, it’s not a reason to be concerned about. It is an opportunity for questions to ask the interviewer and can prove your interest to know more about the company.
For example, the awards and accreditations may concern:
- Excellent working conditions and development opportunities (e.g. Top Employer, Employer of Choice, Great Place to Work).
- Diversity & inclusion awards (e.g. The Inclusive Companies Awards).
- Equality awards (e.g. White Ribbon).
- CSR awards (e.g. The International CSR Excellence Award).
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