4 Questions to Ask a Potential Employer During a Job Interview

(Department of Defense)

When we think of job interviews, we don't often think about the candidate asking questions of the interviewer. After all, isn't an "interview" supposed to be one-sided? That's how it might have worked in the past, but these days, interviewers want their potential employees to ask questions of the company.

For veterans separating from the military, this can be daunting, especially if they aren't prepared for it. Be aware, the questions expected of the candidate are actually part of the interview process. The employer wants to learn more about their potential hire by seeing what is important to them.

So while you should certainly ask real questions about the job and the company that are on your mind, you might consider asking these questions to give the interviewer a warm fuzzy about who you are and what you can bring to the company.

1. What problems in the company concern you?

This is a great question to ask, both for your situational awareness and because it shows concerns for the needs of others. Is the environment as collaborative as you expect? Is it a healthy workplace? Will your ideas be heard? If the interviewer gives an honest answer about their concerns, the answer might reflect concerns you have about your first post-military job.

Most, if not all, companies want to hire someone who can work well with others as a team. They might even have interviewed you over others because you're a veteran, and team effort is something veterans know well. A good fit for the company will mean someone who is empathetic and contributes to a group dynamic.

2. What is the typical career path for this role?

This question demonstrates that you are thinking about your long-term prospects within the company. When employers decide to hire someone, the last thing they want to do is have to refill the position a few months later if you decide to leave.

Moreover, veterans -- especially vets separating after their first enlistment -- have a reputation for leaving their first post-military job. Roughly 44% of veterans leave their first job within a year, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Buck this concern by asking about your long-term prospects.

3. Is there anything on my resume that might be a concern?

Not everything is spoken in a job interview. Sometimes, it might be because the interviewer runs out of time. It might also be because the concern arises after the interview, as they consider who to hire. Asking this question will help address any lingering questions they might have about your qualifications.

Maybe there was something worded poorly on your resume, like saying you studied a relevant subject in college, but it doesn't list when (or if) you graduated. The interviewer might also have a muddled image of military life. Let them know they are free to ask anything about you (within the guidelines of the law), your service or military culture right then and there.

4. What do you enjoy most about working here?

This is a sneaky question for you to ask the interviewer. If they are making hiring decisions (or even just recommendations) for their company, they have likely been working in their field for a while. They have worked for other companies and have worked for some time for the company to which you have applied.

With this in mind, they should be able to easily tell you what they most enjoy about their job, the company or any relevant aspect of their work. If they hesitate for too long -- or don't have an answer at all -- it might make you reflect on whether their company should be your company.

-- Blake Stilwell can be reached at blake.stilwell@military.com. He can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on Facebook.

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