'Tis the season of graduation and fresh college grads entering the job market. While it's imperative to get that resume together and having it checked twice, it is also important to aim for the employers that would be a good fit for your professional and personal growth/development. There will be a point in the interview when the hiring manager asks "do you have any questions for me?" Your answer should be yes.
Here are 6 questions you should ask employers at the end of an interview:
How would you describe your management style?
Are you one to be given a task and sent on your way with minimal check-ins and support or do you prefer to have someone standing over your shoulder from start to finish? I work best when I am given a task and sent away to complete on my own but my supervisor is available for assistance should I need them. This is typically the first question I ask the employer at the close of an interview so I’ll know if it is worth following up with more in-depth questions.
How often do you provide constructive feedback to your staff and what does that look like?
Is feedback provided only during annual/semi-annual reviews? Written or verbal? Staff meeting or one-on-one? I’ve often heard stories about individuals who didn’t know that their employer was unhappy with their work until it was time for their annual review, and left confused and discouraged because they did not know how long they weren’t meeting the standards of their employer. Feedback and constructive criticism are imperative and they are key to having effective, efficient, and productive staff members
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What is the turnover rate?
Is the employer aware of its current turnover rate (percentage of employees leaving a company/organization within a certain period of time)? While there are many reasons employees decide to leave a job (poor management, lack of clarity in role, pay not matching hours worked, etc), it is important to see if there is a trend. How many people were in your role before you applied and how long did they stay? Office culture/climate can be a deciding factor in employees deciding to stay in a job.
Are there any professional development opportunities available to staff?
Is this an employer that invests in the growth & development of their employees? Professional development opportunities in the workplace allow for employees to improve their existing skill set or learn a new skill that may enhance their productivity thus, benefitting the employer. We should all be working towards our best selves - always looking for opportunities of improvement. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, in 2018 43% of millennials reported that they planned to quit their current job within two years. Is this a place you want to invest 8+/day with if that same investment is not getting reciprocated?
Do you have a strategic plan and if so, where are you in your progress?
If a business/organization has an “active” strategic plan (meaning they have target goals that they are progressively meeting overtime and revisiting the plan periodically to ensure steady progress), that signals to me that this entity values direction and has a sense of focus. Have you ever worked somewhere where it felt like no one knew what the hell was going on or what the hell to do? Was that employer acknowledging industry trends that could impact their bottom line? Is the phrase “this is the way we’ve always done things” the company mantra? All things to consider before signing that letter of agreement.
What would you identify as the greatest challenge the company/organization is currently facing?
This would be my follow up question to the strategic plan. Hopefully, this company/organization is aware of its challenges and can readily identify the ways in which they are working to overcome those challenges. Good rule of thumb is to do extensive research on this employer. Who are their competitors? How are they keeping up with industry trends? Ironically, “what has been your biggest challenge” is a common interview question that you would potentially get asked therefore, ask them the same thing. Great assessment to see if your resolution skills are in sync.