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3 Most Important Questions to Ask in an Interview

Interviewing for a job can be really stressful and nerve-racking, but you're not alone. Your goal is to nail the interview - impress your potential employer and make them feel that you are the perfect fit for the company. But don’t forget, it’s just as important to make sure that this company is the right fit for you, and believe me - if the job isn’t right for you, it’s always better to find out sooner than later.

Ask questions is a great way to dig into the employer’s expectations to help you get a clearer picture of the position and the company. Understanding the job expectations will also allow you to determine whether this is a good career move for you.

Here are the 3 most important questions to ask in an interview, and what you need to find out.

Q1. What is the key objectives or major challenge of the job?

Job descriptions are long, but are often generic and do not always reflect the actual day-to-day responsibilities of the job. You should always ask about what is the key objective of the job to understand deeper what you need to do - whether it’s to be part of a new project, conduct an analysis, fix a defective system, reduce operational cost or do up a new proposal.

There should always be a key objective that you need to focus on, and your hiring manager must be able to tell you that. The key objective can be broken down into sub-objectives, which are small milestones down to your day-to-day responsibilities.

Sometimes, you might be tempted to focus on the fun parts of the job, including the exciting projects you'll get to work on and the perks that come with the position. But asking about the major challenge of the job also gives you a more realistic view about the problems that you will face and find a solution for. It also helps to determine if the job is right for your skillset.

For example, you might learn that the company has great products, but that their marketing strategy is lacking, which could be an area that you could step in and improve upon. Or perhaps it's an issue with communication between departments, which would allow someone with your background to step in and help streamline things for everyone involved.

If the interviewer is honest with you about the objectives and challenges of the position, and it doesn’t intimidate you too much, then it shows that you can do the job. If your interviewer is being evasive, or unable to paint an accurate picture of the key objectives and some of the challenges, then it could indicate that there are difficult times ahead for you.

Q2. What needs to be done to be successful?

It’s really important to ask the hiring manager to define their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs are the metrics used to measure how well a company, department, or individual is performing. They are usually set for each role within a business and vary from job to job.

Asking about how success is measured will not only give you more concrete details of the manager’s expectations, but it will also shed some light on your short-term and long-term goals and how you will be evaluated. Well, if you are not aware of what success looks like, how do you measure your progress and ensure that you are meeting - or exceeding expectations?

Here are some examples of different roles and common KPIs respectively:

  • Sales: Achieve sales revenue of RM30,000 per month

  • Marketing: Increase website traffic by 20%

  • Finance: Increase profit margin by 3%

  • Customer Service: Achieve customer satisfaction score of 95%

  • Software Development: Deliver project on time

  • HR: Recruit new employees within 30 days

It's a good idea to have at least one question about KPI with every job interviewer, even if you are interviewing for an entry-level position. An entry-level position may simply have a "completion of tasks" KPI, but that doesn't mean asking about it won't give you more detailed insight about the position. Besides, asking this question also shows that you have a keen sense of self-awareness and you are determined to achieve success in the position.

Q3. What needs to be done in the next 3 / 6 / 12 months?

Asking this question helps you understand what you need to address or work on in the short term. Is there an immediate problem to be solved? Are they trying to improve in a certain area? Is there a change coming down the line that they are preparing for?

This will tell you that the interviewer has a plan for you and you have a good understanding of your future priorities and what you will be expected to accomplish. The answer to this question can give you an idea of how much time you will have to learn the ropes and figure things out before you are expected to start making a real impact.

For example, if there is an immediate problem that needs to be solved or something they want to accomplish in the next 6 months, this might indicate that you will need to hit the ground running. On the other hand, if their responses are more vague or less urgent, it might not be so important for you to dive right in.

Asking questions during job interviews ultimately gives you the upper hand and shows your interviewer that you're invested, interested in what they have to say, and that you want to learn more about the position. Remember: your questions are opportunities to get everything you need to know. You need to get answers that are relative to your interests and goals, so you can spot any red flags, problems, or inconsistencies before accepting a job offer.

While it’s usually not easy to get all your answers during an interview, these 3 questions are already answered by hirers when they post up a job on Kabel app. So, all you need to do is just look through the job card before you swipe right on the job, and then chat with hirers directly to find out more. Check out Kabel app here.

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