BD #16 - 3 Favourite Questions to Ask Your Interviewer
Use these to interview the company when applying for roles.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will share my favourite questions to ask in interviews - both as a candidate and interviewer. I used to sell both of these lists as a guide, and they proved fairly popular, but as I'm revamping my material and courses for the new year, I wanted to give them away instead of flat-out retiring the content forever.
As always, feedback is greatly appreciated. Please let me know if you have requests for content you'd like to see.
So do you have any questions for us?
This can be a hard part of the interview! I’d strongly advise asking specific questions about the role and organisation you’re interviewing for. You really want them to know you took the time to carefully consider and research the role before getting to this stage. Asking an insightful question can make a difference in an interview! I obviously can’t help with specifics in a post like this (for that, you might want specific coaching?). I can, however, give you my favourite go-to questions that apply to most data and analytics roles.
Think about the purpose behind them and what they're trying to uncover. You can probably apply them as is if you're going for a data scientist position, but you might want to tweak them slightly otherwise.
Here they are…
1. How many models/reports/pipelines do you have in production?
This is a favourite as it captures a lot of indirect information that often isn’t included in the job description. Ask this when you’re not certain how well-developed the data and analytics practices are in the new organisation. If you get a low number or vague answer – chances are they have little to nothing in production.
This can be a red flag if you’re expecting to land in a mature setting. There’s nothing wrong with being in a role where things aren’t well defined (it can be a lot of fun being in those early stages) but it’s challenging so you’ll want to know before you get there.
If you get a firm answer or a confident “I don’t know, but more than X” then you can have more confidence that this place is on the path to proper systematised data and analytics and not just dabbling.
2. What would I achieve in the first nine months of this role to be considered a star hire?
I love this one because you’re getting valuable information about what it means to succeed in the role. This means you can prepare for landing by honing those skills and practices that the person lists. It also strongly indicates that you’re eager to perform and you want to impress – this can make you stand out.
Finally, you'll be more memorable because you’re making the interviewer think (they rarely have an answer for this prepared in advance). By imagining what it takes to be a star hire, they’ll begin to associate you with being one.
3. Are there any red flags or must-have skills that you don’t think have been covered in this interview already?
This is a good one to ask right at the end of a final stage interview. Tell them that you’ll be open and honest about any weaknesses if you exhibit any of the red flag traits or don’t have the skills listed. This builds trust and confidence. It might seem odd, but the point is to frame the question around the idea that you’re not looking for any job or that you’re trying to sneak in without meeting the requirements. If they think you’re not desperate, you seem more in control and capable.
You also, genuinely, don’t want to land a job that isn’t the right fit for you – this helps give you one last check that you haven’t missed anything vital either.
I've used these questions over and over again to get more information on what a role is really like. You must realise that if you're a great candidate, then at a certain point of understanding the scales tip, an interviewer might be trying to sell you the job instead of the other way around.
You don't have to use these (and it's always better to ask well-researched and thoughtful questions specific to the company) but try to uncover some of the truth about day-to-day life in the role.
All the best,
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