What questions do you ask prospective employers?

Mar 20, 2015

Interviewing for a permanent e-learning designer/developer position? You're not alone. Once you're past the initial screening questions, an interview is really a great opportunity to clarify what you're looking for in a job and in a workplace. Some of the questions that come to mind for me are: What's the outlook for career advancement? What's the company culture like? What kind of work will I really be doing?

Whether you're on the hunt or have just snagged a great new job, I'd love to hear about the questions you asked...or the ones you should've asked. Thanks for sharing!

9 Replies
Jessica Nelson

Such a great topic!  I will definitely be following!  I always ask, "Do you support continuing education opportunities?" and "Are your designers part of the Association for Talent Development (ATD)?" 

Continued learning is important for me, and I have to work for an organization that supports it as well.  It is a great way to see if the reimburse memberships and tuition, but also if they have any associated initiatives that go along with it.  Some organizations will pay for programs, but will not actually allow you to attend (time off of work etc.).  These questions are an easy way to get a glimpse into their culture.

Ashley Chiasson

I ask both of the questions Cary asks, and I also ask "What do you love most about working here?" - This question gives you a good idea about what the organization is like. 

If salary isn't discussed, I'll ask about the position's salary range...because let's be real, that's a pretty important piece of information. I'll also ask about what type of benefits the organization provides.

Tim Slade

Love this topic! Asking question back to the interviewer is SO important! 

I always ask, "What aspects of your job keep you up at night?" This question can help you understand what might be stressful about the job or the work environment. This can also help you understand how you might be expected to support that individual (assuming that you'll be working for him or her). 

Daniel Brigham

A few questions I have asked that haven't been addressed above:

1. What assets are available to me for building courses? (image asset library? $ for purchasing stock photos, video, audio clips?, graphic designer in another department?)

2. Who is the LMS administrator? (important if YOU don't want to be that person)

3. What is the basic process for building courses here? (This gives you insight about how robust their training is)

4. Have you implemented any blended learning? (Of course, this also gives you the opportunity to talk about your knowledge of xAPI, yada yada.)

5. May I see samples of your elearning? (A good sign if they show you.)

Nice topic, Trina. And good to see you at LS 2015. --Daniel


Natalia Mueller

Great topic. It's been a little while but I've always been big on asking about development opportunities. As mentioned above, that simple question can give you a lot of insight into a company's culture. It's also key for our industry since it's always changing and evolving. I don't want to find myself in a position where my skills or the technology I work with falls behind and I become a dinosaur.

I'm also big on flexibility. If a company doesn't offer flex schedules, we just aren't a good fit. As a working mama it tends to be another cultural indicator that's important to me. When I feel like a company cares about me, I care back. It fosters a great deal of loyalty and that's the kind of environment I prefer to work in.

Maybe it's just been my experience but I've found there to be correlations between companies that are flexible and also invest in employee development,  innovation, wellness programs, etc. I've had the opposite experience working for companies with more rigid policies so questions about those topics are all high on my list. 




David Glow

Several great questions already noted (many SHOULD be asked at every interview).

One I like to ask is "what key challenges do you see for this position in the next 6 months? Year?"

They can either answer by noting what organizational opportunities they want you to step up and address (outline big wins you should keep your eye on), or they may note the constraints in the position (i.e. timeline, resources, budget, office politics- you'd be surprised how much folks disclose).


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