So, the interview has gone well, you have given all the right answers and now is the time for you to ask questions. What do you say? The worst thing you can do is have no questions prepared. If you have nothing to ask, the interviewer is likely to take that as a negative sign. They will assume that you are not that interested or serious in the role. More importantly, you should remember that an interview is a two-way street. The company and interviewer should be aiming to impress you, just as much as you have to impress them.

What are the challenges that need to be solved in this role?

This is a great starting point as it will give you a real insight into the interviewers thinking, while demonstrating that you are the type of person who will add value and solve problems. The managers answer to this question can provide you with an understanding as to their true management style. If they give you a really high-level generic answer, I guarantee they have not even thought about empowering this person to have an impact. They are just looking for someone to do what they are told and follow process. Its highly unlikely they are going to allow this person to make any real changes.

However, if the interviewer walks through at least two specific problems that have arisen, it’s a very good sign. This shows a manager who is identifying challenges and looking to empower employees to take action to solve them. This is the kind of manager you want to work for, working here for a couple of years and solving those problems is going to be good for your resume.

How do you help your team to develop professionally?

This is a great question as it shows that you are keen to continue growing and developing your career, while testing whether or not the manager is able to help you do that. Again, the big red flag here is if they give you some generic answer about learning and development opportunities. You are looking for the manager to walk you through specifics. If they can’t provide at least 1 specific example of how they have helped someone in the team grow, you should not take the job.

A good manager should be able to tell you exactly how often they have coaching sessions with the team. Whether it is formal coaching and training or informal sessions, along with how they measure this development. They should be able to provide specific examples of team members that have been promoted. They should be able to tell you how often they meet with the team. You want to work for a manager that prioritises the development of their employees.

How does the work done in this team contribute to the company vision and values?

If your potential manager can answer this question well, you absolutely must take the job. It demonstrates that you are aware of the company vision and values, and you should obviously research this before the interview. But, it’s a test to see whether or not the manager knows these. The truth in many firms, is that the company vision and values are just words on a website. Most employees and managers can’t tell you what the vision is or how they actually contribute to it.

So, if you are speaking with a manager who can give specific examples of how the work they are doing, actually contribute to this, it means you are going to be part of a team actually doing meaningful work. Not just someone who thinks this is a 9-5 where you just do a set of activities that have been allocated but has no bigger purpose.