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The Best Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

Congratulations, you scored an interview! You’ve done your company research and know who you’ll be speaking with. What’s left to prep? Making a list of the questions to ask during the interview. Here are our recruiters’ favorites:

About the Role

  • What is great about this job / position in relation to the company? (Job seekers have success asking this to learn more about the work the company is doing and to share their knowledge from the research they’ve done. It’s also a great segue into a conversation about what the company does and to understand how this role fits in, going beyond to day-to-day tasks to why this role matters.)
  • What qualities would make someone successful in this role? Based on their answer, you can tailor your responses towards this instead of skills they are not looking for.
  • How do you see the position growing / changing in the next 2-5 years?
  • How will this position contribute to the long-term success of the company?
  • What does success look like in this position, and how do you define / measure it?
  • Why is the job open? Is it a replacement or new position? If a replacement, what did the former employee do that you liked or didn’t? If new, what caused a need for the role?
  • What would your expectations be for the first 30/60/90 days?
  • Is work at home an option? (Note – during the crisis, this is okay to ask soon in the process; afterward use caution as to when you bring it up.)

About Your Candidacy

  • What is one thing about me that is NOT on my resume that you’d like to know?
  • Is there any further clarification I can provide regarding my experience and qualifications for this position?
  • Are there any areas within my background that you see as a limiting factor in your decision to proceed?

About the Organization’s Future

  • Where do you think the company will be in 5 years?
  • Would you mind giving me a little more insight on your company’s current pipeline?
  • What timelines are you working towards in regard to the pipeline? (Make sure to show interest in the company’s specific therapeutic area.)
  • What is the long-term strategic vision of the organisation? In the Pharma / Biotech industry many small companies are bought before they go to market. You want to know if you’ll have a job in a year!
  • If the company is a startup, what is the exit or investment plan?

About the Team & Organization

  • How would you describe the culture?
  • What is the everyday working environment like?
  • What tools / technology are used in the position, lab, etc.?
  • Does the company stay up-to-date on the newest technology?
  • What is the team dynamic?
  • What is the largest problem facing your group and how can I / this role help you solve it?

About the Interviewer

  • What’s your favorite part about working here?
  • To you, what has been the most rewarding aspect of working for the company? This gives the interviewer a chance to really highlight the company, but also shows the candidate is more interested in the role than just the compensation, and is seeking to make a positive difference through their work.
  • Tell me about your background and what therapeutic areas you have worked in previously.
  • What has caused you to stay with the company?
  • Can you describe your management style?

Closing Questions

  • What are the next steps in the interview process?
  • What is the timeline for making a decision upon completion of my interview?
  • Are there any final questions or concerns I can address?
  • Can I tell you how excited I am about this opportunity?

Covid / Quarantine-Specific Questions

  • If not an essential or lab position, what are your post-quarantine on site work expectations now that things are opening back up again?
  • Is it ok for me to wear a mask while we are talking? Are you able to hear me clearly through the speaker / audio on my phone / headset / computer?
  • What’s the policy on wearing masks and/or social distancing at the office?
  • What has your organization done to put itself in a position to succeed now that we’re entering a post-Covid environment?
  • Has the pandemic changed how your team operates?
  • Has your company already phased people back into the office or lab? If not, what is the plan?
  • Have there been any changes in operations and / or culture as a result of the pandemic?
  • What does the company view as their new normal now that we’re entering a post-Covid world?

One of the most common reasons job candidates get rejected is not asking questions during an interview. Reference this list before your next meeting to help prepare. When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, make sure you do!

Photo credit: Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash