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Acing the Interview: Part II

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

Acing your interview might just be the key to landing your dream job. Here’s what you can do to prepare. If you’re feeling lost, check out Acing the Interview: Part I before continuing.

Questions to Ask in a Interview

So many people are concerned with making a good impression during a job interview that they forget it’s a two-way street. You’re there not only to market yourself but to find out if the job and the company are a good fit for you. You should use the interview to ask questions for yourself. So what type of questions should you be asking?

Here are a few:

What’s an average day like here? The question may prompt the interviewer to go into great detail about the day-to-day workings of the company, which is great information to have. If you deem it appropriate, respond to their answer with an example of how their work environment suits your style of operation.

How would you describe the culture here? The interviewer may answer that it’s pretty laid-back or it’s all business, or there’s a good mixture of gender and cultures. Of course, he may also lie through his teeth. But if you’re any good at reading people, even that might be valuable.

What qualities are you looking for in the person who fills this position? You’re looking for answers like “Someone who is good with details” or “Someone who can communicate technical issues to end-users,” etc. If the answer is “Someone who doesn’t mind skipping lunch or always being on call,” then you have some solid information on which to base your decision about the job.

Other Questions to Ask in an interview

  • What is the next step in the hiring process? Or, when might you make a hiring decision?
  • What tools/applications/languages do you use?
  • What is your history with student interns/employees?
  • What typical projects or tasks do student interns work on?
  • What makes a student intern successful? What traits are best suited for your company?
  • How do the various members of the team work together—who is in charge? etc.
  • How would successful performance in this position be measured?
  • Is there much turn over in your company?
  • What’s the management style?
  • Do entry-level employees get to travel to conferences? Is that a perk or are they on their own?
  • What makes new college grads attractive; what should students be working on?

These questions aren’t just designed to impress your interviewer with your thoughtfulness, but can be an excellent way for you to figure out if a job is a good fit for you. You may end up getting the job offer, but if you didn’t like the answers you got when you asked questions about your role and the company culture, it might be best to keep looking for a better fit.