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Three Questions to Ask in an Interview

By: Aquent

LAST UPDATED: April 7, 2023

Have you ever walked out of a job interview and thought “Wow, I know a lot about this company. I know a lot about this position, but I don't know a lot about what it would be like to work with this hiring manager”?

Well, you aren't alone – which is why we're sharing three top questions that you can ask a hiring manager during an interview to help get a better understanding of what it would be like to work with them. It can be key for understanding a little more about what future progression could look like, or even just to give you an idea of how your interview went.

1) What Does Success Look Like For You?

When you ask this question, your potential boss will be able to give you an insight in to how they set goals for their team's success– or better yet, if they don't set goals at all. What you're really looking for in their reply is some concept of the standard against which you'll be measured. Are you going to be expected to hit weekly targets, or turn out projects like clockwork? Or is their measure for success a little more collaborative – maybe you'll work with them to outline goals that you'd like to achieve over a quarter or a year, and they'll be more than happy to help you reach them.

What you don't really want to to hear is somebody struggling to put their answer into words, or a thin line about being a pretty laid-back team really. Something along these lines indicates to you that the company you're joining might have a problem recognising and celebrating achievements or success. Unless this is something you'll have the power to influence in your new role, it highlights a problem with company culture that can be pretty problematic.

2) What Is The Best Feedback You've Ever Given Someone On Your Team?

When they answer this question, you'll understand what will stand out to them about your work. Is the feedback only positive? Or are they also providing constructive criticism? Are they the kind of boss that supports the growth of their team? Though this might seem similar to Question One, the difference is that this question gives you tangible real-life evidence of how your potential boss communicates.

What you want to hear in response is a well-rounded and natural answer that you'd be happy to hear in that situation. Again, if the interviewer struggles to answer this question you want to ask yourself whether this is the sort of direction you'd like to take your career in.

3) Where Do You See Yourself In The Future?

This might seem a little cheeky – something that they should (and may even already have) ask you, but it's insightful for you to know how long the person introducing you to the company intends to stay in their current positions. Whether that's to leave the company altogether or just transition to another role, you'll be interested to hear what your future boss' plans are.

Beyond an awareness of the stability or turnover of the company, it also gives you an understanding of your own possible place in the business. If the person hiring you is leaving their role after 2 years for bigger and better things, the future might look the same for you. This (of course) isn't always the case, and you should keep in mind that there are a whole manner of different explanations for people take a position elsewhere – some personal/private, and many that won't impact you at all.

The relationship that you develop with your manager may just be the most crucial step in helping you develop a career path. Ask the right questions at the beginning of that relationship and your career can benefit greatly. Miss the chance and you may find yourself taking one step forward and two steps back. Hopefully, these three quick questions will help you uncover more information about a potential career and working relationship with your next boss! 

If you have found this blog useful, then why not download our free ‘How To' guide on all you could ever want to know when searching for your next job, including Perfecting Your Portfolio and How to Shine in an Interview.