Job interviews: don’t forget, you’re interviewing them, too!

In a previous post on job interview questions for people with social science backgrounds, I discussed a series of questions I recalled from my various interviews and the direction I went in with each of them. This time, I’d like to share the list of questions I referenced during the same interviews. These are the questions I asked in order to get a better sense of each company/organization and to gauge its respective work culture, to understand the position and what it would entail, and also to show my interest in the position and my ability to come up with good questions for my interviewers (asking good questions does impress people).
Again, I used this list as a reference, which means I didn’t ask all of these questions at each interview, but picked and chose depending on the position, what had already been discussed, etc. As expected, some of the questions would be answered without me having to ask them, and it was also often the case that new questions popped up throughout the course of the interview or conversation.
  1. Can you give me some specific examples of projects I will be assisting with?
  2. Who exactly will I be working with and what will my specific role(s) be?
  3. What is __________’s process for research proposals and design?
  4. Since my strengths are primarily in qualitative research, and the position is for a qualitative researcher, will I have any opportunities to be involved in quantitative research and expand my skills in this area?
  5. How would a person in this position be evaluated? What would be your expectations of me in the first six months?
  6. What are the biggest challenges for this position, especially for a new graduate who is coming from an academic environment?
  7. Will there be any travel involved? If so, how much?
  8. What percent of my position would be independent work versus team work and other duties (such as attending meetings, etc.)?
  9. Will there be any opportunities to be involved in grant/proposal writing or project management?
  10. How would you describe _________’s management style and work culture?
  11. Can you tell me more about opportunities for professional development?
  12. It is important to me that I am able to maintain ties with my discipline and can keep up to date on relevant research. Will I have the opportunity to attend relevant conferences and what is the availability of funding?
  13. When do you expect to be making decisions about the position
One piece of advice that I believe is common sense but that some people might forget: Don’t ask questions for which the answers can be found on the company’s/organization’s website or other public materials. If you do your homework, you will know lots going into the interview, which will reflect nicely on you as a candidate, but will also help you to come up with well-informed questions for the interview.
As an aside, I am happy to announce that I have accepted a consumer research analyst position at a large company in the mid-west, contingent upon background check, etc. More details to come once the position is finalized, but it is such a nice feeling to be past the work I put into getting to this point.

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