ask.fedweek.com | questions for your interviewers

Interviews are for both the employer and you, as an applicant. A great way to ensure “fit” is to ask questions during an interview.

Never walk into an interview without specific questions for the interviewers. Even if you work in the unit where you’re interviewing, it is important to demonstrate that you have thought about the position and are interested in the interviewers’ needs and wants, not just your own. Typically, you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions toward the end of the interview; you want to be prepared!

You should not ask questions about how you will be trained, when you will get promoted, or whether you can work at home; instead, focus on demonstrating that you are interested in the employer’s needs.

The Complete Guide to Interviewing for a Federal Job

You may want to prepare 5-6 questions; you may not get to ask them all (3 is probably plenty) and it is possible that your interviewers will have answered at least a couple during the process. Here are some questions you could ask; you should prioritize what is most important to you.

• What are the next steps in the process?
• What are your goals for the person who fills this job in their first 90 days? First year?
• What did the person who held this job before do well that you would like to see continued?
• Are there major organizational changes in the works that might change how this position functions? (Or if you know of those changes, you can ask how those changes might affect the position)
• What do expect to be the biggest learning curve for the person who fills this job?
• Since this position has been vacant, what topic or issue of this position has taken up the most time?
• What is a typical day like?
• Describe the organization culture.
• What do you most like about working here?
• Is there anything else I can provide that would be helpful to you in making your decision?

Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.