5 Uncomfortable Questions You Need To Ask During a Job Interview

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It can sometimes feel like we need to be as agreeable and easy as possible in a job interview to increase our chances of being hired, but that’s simply selling yourself short. An interview should be equal parts evaluating how much you want to work for the company and the interviewer evaluating if your skills match the role. This means you need to ask some questions that you may have been conditioned to think were inappropriate in the past. Questions about money, workplace culture, retention and the like are all fair game. You’re going to be spending a huge chunk of your life dedicated to this position, so you deserve to know everything you can before you start. Here are the questions that might seem hard to ask at first, but are 100 percent worth asking during an interview. 

“What Is the Salary Range for This Position?”

Phrasing the question this way gives you the upper hand. Perhaps the interviewer has already asked you how much you hope to make, but asking this forces the interviewer to be honest with you (hopefully). Thoroughly research the market rate for your position and do not undervalue your experience. Your work is worth what the company pays you. If the interviewer responds with a range that is below what you were hoping–tell them that. Perhaps there’s wiggle room, and if not, you deserve to be paid what you’re worth. It’s good to know early in the interview process if a company will be meeting your compensation needs or not so you can move on without getting too invested if need be. 

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“What Are the Challenges of This Position?”

Knowing what your biggest roadblocks are going in is critical. If the interviewer lays out a bunch of problems that you’re not interested in solving, it’s good to know at the time of your interview rather than 3 months into your job. However, if the issues the interviewer presents seem natural, feasible or even intriguing, that’s a sign that this job is a good fit for you.

“What Are the Common Reasons People Leave This Position/Company?”

Asking this question gives you insight into what the company’s greatest weaknesses might be. If the last person to have the job you’re interviewing for left for a more senior position at another company, there might be limited room for growth at the company you’re interviewing for. If the interviewer alludes to the company’s culture “not being for everyone” that can mean that it’s maybe incredibly fast-paced and less personal–even cutthroat. The interviewer’s ability to give you these answers also means the team has paid attention to why people are leaving and is at least aware of the reasons behind prior employee’s departure. If the interviewer can’t fully answer these questions, it might be a sign of not taking exit interviews or feedback to heart. 

“How Is Success Measured at This Company?”

This answer should give you some information as to how the company thinks of its employees, and how the review process is conducted. For example, if the interviewer says success is purely based on sales or metrics, it might indicate a “product first, people second” mentality. However, if they say that both growth and retention are important, it signals that upper management is concerned with the mental health of their employees. This answer can also give you a look at how your success will be measured (is it purely hitting a number, or is it showing improvement and initiative in your role?) and how likely you are to get a raise. This question can also lead into how often raises are seen at the company and if they’re on a yearly review cadence or if raises are few and far between. 

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Ask the Questions Most Pressing to You

If you’re looking for a completely remote work environment, ask if that’s a possibility. If you have to pick up your kids early on a certain day, or aren’t open to work travel, make sure that’s known. Don’t make yourself the last priority. It’s much better to let your needs be known early on so that the job works around you, rather than you working around the job. The perfect job for you will be the one that works with your needs and doesn’t make you feel like you have to sacrifice yourself to be successful. 

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