Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
Preparing for a job interview? Excellent! A job search requires a lot of focus, and you’re getting close to the finish line.
Before you make any commitments, however, you’re wise to dedicate time to analyzing each company.
You’ll want to look for clues that could indicate it might not be a great fit for you.
Since you can’t come right out and ask the hiring manager if they micromanage their team or lack a clear vision of its trajectory, you’ll need to be strategic in the interview questions you pose.
To help, we’ve gathered specific interview questions that can help you uncover potential job concerns.
Uncover Major Concerns During Your Interview
Interview preparation often emphasizes projecting yourself as the ideal candidate. This is crucial, but remember that you’re also evaluating the company.
An interview is a mutually beneficial interaction to assess if you are the right fit for the company and vice versa. Consider the following questions to help you determine this.
1. What stands out to you when you think of the company’s culture?
What do you ask when you need to get the scoop on the company culture but not the canned response on the hiring page? Ask for details so the recruiter has to dive a bit deeper.
A company’s core beliefs can affect how much you enjoy your day-to-day duties and your career development.
It’s worth asking for more explanation. Look for clues that indicate a people-first, organized, focused culture that thrives on transparent communication.
- Interviewer finds it difficult to describe the company’s culture.
- Workplace culture depicted as one that glorifies overwork and lacks transparency.
2. Can you show me some examples of projects that I’d be working on?
You’re likely eager to understand how the role aligns with your skill set or interests. At times, job descriptions can be a bit vague. Getting a more detailed understanding of the role’s duties would be terrific.
When you have more information, it’ll be easier to determine how the position lines up with your goals and experiences.
At a minimum, a lack of clarity in expectations can be stressful, but a poor job fit can lead you right back to job hunting sooner than later.
- Interviewer is unable to provide clear examples of projects.
- Provided examples appear disorganized or mismatched with your understanding of the role.
3. What management style do you encourage among your team leaders?
Did your previous manager micromanage to the point of exhaustion? You definitely don’t want to jump from one stressful situation to another with a leader who lacks faith in their team.
Alternatively, you might prefer an engaging leadership style and find a hands-off approach challenging.
The answer you get doesn’t guarantee that you and the team leader will be a great fit, but it can help you assess the overall perception of quality leadership within the organization. Productivity is essential, but if that’s their main thought on leadership, it could be a red flag.
- Management style appears to favor micromanagement.
- Statements concentrate on how management “ensures productivity.”
4. Can you share why this role is open?
To avoid launching a new job search in a few months, you want to try and understand why the position is available. That way, you can avoid a toxic work environment or a frustrating lack of organization.
Instead, listen for clues that the previous team member moved forward in their career progression. That’s a great signal that development and advancement are prioritized.
- Indications seen of high turnover for this role.
- Comments suggest instability in upper management or overall company direction.
5. What are your expectations for work hours in this remote role?
Are you looking for a better work-life balance than your current role provides? Or, maybe you’re seeking an opportunity that offers an alternative schedule.
Either way, getting clarity on the expectations for the role will help ensure a great fit. After all, jobs are structured differently, and terms like “flexible hours” can mean different things at different companies.
Not only that, but you also want to understand how meetings and overtime are structured and if they’re required. Those considerations can significantly impact your flexible work arrangement and stress level.
- Interviewer implies a need for constant availability.
- Irregular working hours do not align with your personal scheduling needs.
6. How does the company support work-life balance?
Work-life balance is a multifaceted concept, and it’s worthwhile to explore it from different angles. A healthy blend of your professional and personal lives isn’t just about when and where you work. It’s also about being able to unplug, unwind, and focus on your relationships and well-being.
Does the company have policies or wellness programs in place to support employees’ physical and mental health?
- Absence of a formal flexible work policy
- No emphasis on work-life balance
7. What opportunities are there for professional development and learning in a remote environment?
Regardless of your enthusiasm for this new role, it’s unlikely you’d want to be performing the same tasks 10 years from now. Career progression is essential to your long-term job satisfaction.
Without opportunities for advancement, the position may eventually feel static. This is especially true in a remote role, where you might feel more isolated.
- No mentorship, development initiatives, or educational stipends
- No clear career paths to ensure progression
8. Can you share more about the company’s vision and values and how they translate into daily work and practices?
Wouldn’t you love to clock in each day feeling excited about the company you work for? If so, you’ll need to find a company that does more than provide a paycheck.
You’ll need to find a company whose vision and values align with your own career values. That way, when routines seem less than thrilling or something doesn’t go well, you’ll know you’re a part of something bigger.
Beyond a company mission statement, determining the values that guide company decisions at every level is a good sign for the future.
- Use of generic terms and phrases without clarification on how they’re implemented at individual and team levels
- Inability to relate the company’s mission statement to daily decisions, such as hiring and goal-setting
9. How is performance evaluated and feedback provided in a remote setting?
Assuming that there’s always room for growth is realistic. But how can you meet your manager’s expectations if you’re unaware of what they are?
A company that lacks regular check-ins may also fail to help you advance in your career in a structured and healthy way. Clarity around performance objectives and regular conversations about performance ensures equitable opportunities for everyone on the team.
- Absence of a formal process for performance evaluation
- No routine check-ins or one-on-one meetings to ensure clarity and transparency
10. How does the company promote open and effective communication?
Working for a company with a clear communication policy can be the fine line between thriving and struggling, especially in a remote work environment. Otherwise, it’s easy for miscommunications to fester and a lack of clarity to impact team relationships and productivity.
Ideally, you’ll find a company with a structure for the hours everyone needs to be available, avoiding last-minute Zoom meetings that disrupt your personal and professional lives.
Beyond availability, though, pay attention to clear policies on when and how to jump into a verbal conversation when there are miscommunications through written methods.
- Absence of a company-wide standard for when and how to use different communication tools
- Lack of regular meeting schedules or boundaries for meeting availability
Finding Your Ideal Fit
It can be challenging to trust your instincts when you get called for an interview, especially if you’re in the middle of a long or frustrating job search. Even so, you should take the time to analyze whether or not the company and the position are a great fit for you.
By asking these targeted questions, you’re not only demonstrating your active interest in the position but also gaining insights into potential job concerns or organizational shortcomings.
Remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect company or job, but there’s certainly a company and job that’s an ideal fit for you.
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The same principle applies to job interviews.
By asking thoughtful and strategic questions, you’re more likely to find a role that aligns with your career objectives and offers a healthy work environment.