Questions to Ask Your Interviewer to Make Sure the Job Isn’t a Trap
If you ever had a job in tech before, then you’d know that some jobs are just not what you expected.
After being at my 4th company in Silicon Valley, I picked up a few things that helped me prepare for my interviews. I’m not a software engineer though — I’ve worked in product management, business development, partnerships, and analytics, Whenever I started the job interview process, I’d have 2 objectives:
- Impress the interviewer with thoughtful questions
- Find out whether this job is a trap
This helps me filter for and focus on the job opportunities that actually align with my interests and experience and save time from companies that wouldn’t be a good fit for me.
In this video, I discuss in detail what my thought process is when trying to understand the full scope of the job opportunities at hand. In the past, I’ve had my first interview with recruiters, hiring managers, and even CEOs. Make sure to gear your questions to the person you’re interviewing with! Below is the text outline of the actual questions I ask my interviewers.
Phase 1. The Job
- How come this role is open?
- Is it backfill? If so, why did the previous person leave? Where did they go? How long were they in the role for? What are they doing now?
- If not, is it a brand new creation? If so, what was the catalyst for this position?
- In a typical week, what meetings would I be going to? What meetings would I conduct?
- On a weekly basis, what would I be delivering and to whom would I be delivering to?
- Can you tell me about the 3–5 ppl I’d be interacting with the most? What are their roles and how will I be interacting with them.
Phase 2. The Relationship
- For me, my relationship with my manager is really important and I want to get a sense of what your style is as a manager. Can you share some of the behaviors that a successful person on your team exhibits?
- Perhaps, we can frame it this way. If you were to imagine your favorite team member (or someone you’ve managed that really gel’d with you), what are specific things or behaviors they’ve done that you thought made them successful?
- On the flip side, what are behaviors of people you’ve worked with before that haven’t worked so well?
- I’d love to hear a little more about your background and history with the team. When did you join this team and started managing it? How has the team changed since then? Where do you see this team going?
Phase 3. The Butter
- I have a few more questions about you and how you lead the team. What are things you are measured by and how do I, as a member of your team, fall in line? How do I help you and the team succeed?
- What are the metrics of success that I would be measured by?
- Where do you see this role going? If a person in this role succeeds, what would they be doing in 1–2 years?
Phase 3. The Process
- What’s next? What’s the interview process like? What’s the timeline?
- What are the different interview loops? Who are each of the interviewers, what do they do, and how would they potentially be working with me?