If you’re looking for an entry-level job, it can sometimes feel like you’re speeding through the interview process screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!” while trying to play it cool. You might focus so much on answering the interviewer’s questions in a way that demonstrates you’re the right person for the job that you forget to ask them smart questions, too.
In reality, that final stage of the interview can be the part where you seal the deal. You should put just as much effort into asking questions that show you’re ready to jump right in and allow you to gauge whether the role is a good fit for you in the first place. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste. Here’s what hiring managers and recruiters say are three of the most powerful questions that too few entry-level hires remember to ask.
1. “What Does Success Look Like For Entry-Level Hires At The Company?”
It’s better to know even before day one what it would take to succeed in your position. Heidi Solti-Berner, evolving workforce talent leader at Deloitte, recommends this question because it gives the hiring manager a chance to spell out the qualities of junior-level high performers in the organization.
“Once you have a clearer picture of this,” she says, “you can better demonstrate how those identified qualities are aligned with your work ethic, professional goals, and overall personality.” If there’s anything about yourself that you didn’t get a chance to share earlier, you can follow up on the interviewer’s response by explaining how you already possess some of the qualities and skills they’ve just mentioned.
Plus, if you do get the offer and wind up taking it, you’ll start off with insider knowledge about how to thrive in your position. At any rate, recruiters are likely to be impressed simply by the fact that you asked this question, since it shows that your main priority is to start delivering results right away.
2. “How Would You Describe The Team And Manager I’d Be Working With?”
Yes, getting a job is important, but it’s even more important to work at a company where you’re supported by a boss and colleagues who are proactive about helping you grow–especially when you’re coming in at the entry level. Chelsea Kovak, a recruiter at the business-loan platform Fundera, explains that “nothing has a bigger impact on your ability to develop and grow in a role than the amount of mentoring and focus you can get from your manager.”
But Kovak also points out that this question helps you understand the work culture, since it “gives a sense of the way the team will work together and can really prepare you for the culture of the company you’ve signed up for.” If the hiring manager shares even a few background details of the team’s dynamics, they can be pretty telling–and hopefully help you decide whether it’s the right environment for you.
For instance, does the interviewer mention that the team is collaborative and works on several projects together? Or, does your team only consist of you and your manager? Is it a growing team that’s looking to add new hires over the next six months? This is all useful information when you’re sizing up a role. But what’s more, asking this question gives you one last chance to show the interviewer that if you’re offered the position, you’ll be able to fit right in with the team.
3. “If Offered The Job, What Would You Recommend I Do To Get Off To A Great Start?”
While the first question focuses on your long-term success, this last one gives you intel on what it would take to stand out immediately. And according to Jeremy Payne, VP and head of operations at Remote Year, says that asking this question helps the interviewer visualize you in the role.
So in addition to getting yet another chance to reassure the interviewer why you’re up for the challenges ahead of you, Payne adds that it’s also a useful data-gathering opportunity: “It allows you to determine where you would need development and provides you with advice toward that development–all in one response.” And best of all, since the hiring manager is thinking about what you in particular would need to start off on the right foot, the suggestions you’ll hear will be tailored to your skills and credentials.
Adding these three questions to your mental lineup while you’re prepping for interviews can help you wrap up your conversation on a high note. They let you show the interviewer that success and culture are both equally important to you, all while letting you suss out whether the team, position, and expectations fit with your personal career goals. That’s way more effective than just being the most eager entry-level candidate they interview.