The job interview is a two-sided conversation. You’re interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you.
While it’s essential to prep your answers for behavioral interview questions and do your research on the company, the most critical question needs to come from you. You should never leave a job interview unless you ask this crucial question.
“Why is this position open?”
The answer could offer key insights into the company and determine whether the position could be a good fit for you.
You’re replacing a rock star.
You could be replacing someone who previously held the position for many years and is retiring. Or this employee was an all-star. That means you’ve got some big shoes to fill. If that’s the case, make sure to ask what they did that made them so valuable.
It’s a brand-new position.
A new position means there’s no historical performance to reference. Ask the company why they added the job and what sort of support will be available to you as a new hire in a new position for the company. If you’re a self-starter, this can be an excellent opportunity to shine—but if you’re the type of employee who wants a guide to follow, it might not be the right fit for you.
You’re replacing a low performer.
The previous person may have underperformed or even fired. Or the boss could be a nightmare, and the person has moved on. Whatever the reason, you need to know why it didn’t work out.
The position may be too demanding and requires someone with more experience. On the flip side, the previous person may have been overqualified, and you might find yourself in a similar situation based on your skills. Maybe the company or boss wasn’t a good fit, and they decided to go a different direction in their career.
The goal is to know why they didn’t do well and how you can do better — or whether you want to work at the organization at all. Be cautious if everyone has worked there for less than a year, and the job is frequently filled.
Asking about a position’s history is the best way to get clear expectations for you and how much potential there is for your career advancement at the company.
If you have more questions regarding career coaching and interview preparation, we’re here to help! Contact us today.