A hiring manager is a full-time employee of a company tasked with hiring qualified candidates for the company’s open roles. If a hiring manager thinks you’re a good fit for one of their job openings, they may reach out to you and conduct a phone interview before determining whether or not you are qualified enough for an onsite interview.
Hiring managers can be a valuable resource for job seekers, helping you learn more information about the position and their company. If you’re interested in pursuing the job, the intel gained from questions you ask a manager can give you a leg up during the interview process.
Even if you’re not actively looking for a job, think of a conversation with a hiring manager as a learning opportunity. You might be surprised to find you’re actually interested in the role if it’s a strong fit or a lucrative opportunity. If nothing else, you’ll learn some things that might serve you in a future job search.
Here are the top questions to ask a hiring manager.
Top things to ask in an interview about a job opportunity
1. Why is this position open?
This is a perfect example of a question where a hiring manager can give you inside information that’s not available in the public domain, like why the previous person who held the job is leaving it. If they were promoted, it’s a good sign of advancement opportunities within the company. If it’s a newly created job, it may offer the opportunity to mold the role based on your strengths.
2. What are the day-to-day job responsibilities?
You can only learn so much from a job description on paper. The bulk of your career takes place within your day-to-day activities, so it’s important to understand what those might look like. Their answer will give you an idea of whether the job comes with new challenges and additional responsibilities from your current position, which is always a good thing to look for when job searching.
3. How is success measured for this role?
To be successful in any job, it’s important to have a clear definition of what success looks like. A hiring manager will spell out exactly what the company is hoping the right candidate can accomplish in the role, so you can see if you think you’re up to the task. If they can’t tell you how success is measured, it could be a red flag that you’ll lack guidance.
4. Why do you believe I’m a potentially good fit?
While the job description likely comes with a laundry list of preferred skills and qualifications, some of those are going to be more important to the hiring manager than others. So what are they, and what qualities of yours stood out? This can help you understand what to emphasize if you decide you’d like to pursue this opportunity.
5. Do you have any reason to believe I may not be right for the role?
A good hiring manager will be honest about any doubts they have and give you a chance to address them. Perhaps there’s an additional certification that would strengthen your candidacy or a skill you possess that’s not listed on your resume. If it turns out you’re actually lacking some of the most important skills for the job, it’s best to find that out upfront.
6. Who would I report to?
Your manager has a major impact on the work you do and your level of job satisfaction. And yet, it’s hard to learn what a boss will really be like to work for until you’re actually hired. The next best thing you can do is ask is who they are and what they’re like. What’s their management style? What kind of people do they mesh well with? What are their values? These insights will tell you if your would-be manager is someone you’re likely to be happy working for.
7. What types of projects will I be working on?
Hiring managers are trying to figure out if you’re a good fit for this role, but so are you. Understanding what your focus will be the first few months on the job will help you imagine what working for the company will really be like. What expectations will these projects bring? Do they make you excited? Learning about your potential responsibilities will help you picture your role and whether it will be something you can look forward to being apart of.
8. Please describe the company culture
This question is a big one, since the culture of a company can have a huge bearing on how most people feel about their jobs. Is work there more collaborative or independent? Is the management style formal or casual? Consider what you’re looking for in an ideal employer and evaluate how well the hiring manager’s description matches your preferences.
9. How soon do you want someone to start?
This can be a make-or-break factor in deciding whether the job is right for you, especially if you’re in a hurry or you’re talking with other companies. If they’re in no rush to get someone in the role, you might put a higher priority on other positions you’re applying for. If they’re looking to move quickly, on the other hand, you might expect a decision shortly after one or two interviews.
10. What is the compensation package?
Negotiating is crucial to maximizing your earnings. A hiring manager can give you a salary range that helps you better position yourself during future conversations about salary. If the range they’re offering is too low, they might be able to recommend another open position that’s on par with your requirements.
Related: How to negotiate a job offer
11. What perks and benefits are offered?
Salary isn’t the only factor in compensation. Other perks and benefits, like unlimited PTO or a healthy bonus structure, might factor into your decision to proceed as a candidate. You’ll likely want to find out ahead of time if the job comes with basic benefits like health insurance.
12. What are the steps in the interview process?
They can lay out the different stages of the interview process and tell you more about what each one entails. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare, plus you’ll have a better idea of how long the entire process might take.
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