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There are a couple of givens when it comes to preparing for job interviews. You research the role for which you are applying and to whom you will be speaking; you prepare your answers to questions you might get; and you ensure your resume is in tip-top shape.

This is, of course, a great checklist to go through before you walk into the office. However, there is one more consideration you should check off before you shake hands with your interviewer: preparing your own questions, too.

Job interviews should never be a one-way endeavor. Instead, they should be a conversation between you and the interviewer as you both try to get a better idea of how and if you will be a good fit for the company. Show the interviewer you are engaged and interested by keeping these three questions in your back pocket. 

Why are you hiring for this position?

The answer to this question will give you a good idea of where the company stands. If this is a new position, you’ll be able to find out where the company is hoping to steer its ship. Plus, it shows that the company is expanding, which is what any successful company hopes to do. Perhaps you instead find out that the last employee to hold the position got a new job within the company. This gives you a couple of key insights. One, it shows that the company is open to promoting from within. This could certainly benefit you and your career goals in the future. Two, it shows that the company is proactive about career development and working with employees to keep any feelings of stagnation at bay. You could receive a simpler answer: The previous employee found a new job at a different company. There isn’t as much information to glean from this answer, but it’s still good to know nonetheless.

What challenges will the new hire face in this role?

The answer to this question should give you a better feel about what the position specifically entails. Sure, you’ve read the job postings and browsed the company website, but chances are the specific challenges to this role have not been addressed at length. This is your time to get a more multi-dimensional understanding at what your possible day-to-day will look like and what sort of expectations you will be expected to meet.

Why wouldn’t you hire me?

Some might say this is a controversial question to throw out, and you might feel more comfortable asking it in a less direct way. However, asking your interviewer to delineate any possible strikes against you should prove to be a smart strategy. It allows you to reframe past experiences or anecdotes that might not have come across as you hoped they would into positive ones. This will also help you in any future job search as well; the answer to this important question serves as a third-party look into your personal brand and whether it is working.

Burchard & Associates is an executive search firm specialized in accounting and finance recruiting across all business sectors, including manufacturing, retail, wholesale/distribution, healthcare, financial services, and more.

If you’re searching for a new position in accounting or finance, be sure to check out the latest job postings on our website and LinkedIn.