Tips for PR Graduates: 5 Questions to Ask at Your Next Job Interview

You’ve nailed your interview. Your prospective employer has one final question for you: “Do you have any questions for us?” If your first instinct is to ask, “When can I start?” press pause and consider asking a few other questions.

Asking your own questions will show your prospective employer that you’ve come prepared and you care about the position, the company and your ability to succeed there. How the employer answers these questions also will help you determine if the job and company are the right fit for you.

When thinking of what questions to ask, make sure they are open-ended and give you more insight into the company’s culture and expectations of you.

Here are five questions to get you started:

  1. What will the day-to-day schedule of this job look like? While some daily variation at work is to be expected, this question can give you an idea of whether you will be in a meeting-heavy environment, or if you will have a balance of independent work and meetings — and if you have the skills and temperament to excel at the day-to-day responsibilities of the position.
  2. How will you measure someone’s success in this role? This question will make the employer think beyond the skills they would like to see the employee possess and give you a clearer understanding of what you need to accomplish to be successful in the position.
  3. Where is this company headed in the next five or 10 years? Not only will the answer to this question help you determine if this is the right company for you, but it also will give you insight into the skills you need to develop to grow with the company.
  4. What is the company’s culture, and how do you support work-life balance? These days, most employers include discussions about a company’s culture and work-life balance in the interview. But if they don’t, this is where you should ask the questions that are most important to you, like whether colleagues are generous with their knowledge, if the work environment is relaxed or formal, if employees can telecommute, whether weekend work is frequent, and if answering email after work hours is expected. While the answers and reality might be different, asking this question can help you understand the expectations that come with the position and if the company will help you strike the balance you want and need in your life.
  5. What is the career path for someone in this role? This question can help you understand the potential for your growth in the company and may give you a glimpse into how the company promotes its employees — for example, if advancements are time-based or merit-based.

Once you get the answers you need to make an informed decision, ask about the timeline for next steps in the hiring process. And don’t forget to write that thank-you note!