This is one important job interview question you should always ask because you really want to know… why is this position available.
The job interview is so much more than just selling yourself. (Yes, you have to explain you have the skills and talent to peform the job.) But, you really want to see if the job is a good fit for you. This requires you ask some really good questions.
Keep in mind, the interview is a mutual exploration. You want to know about the company and they want to know about you.
Why Ask This Important Job Interview Question
Asking “Why is this position available” can provide insight into the company’s management style, training, culture and more.
You want to understand the logic the company has for needing this position. Is it turnover, internal advancement, or growth?
You may choose to reword how you ask it if it feels too blunt.
Help me understand why this position is available?
Can you tell me what has led you to advertise this position?
Would you really want to accept a job if you knew that most people don’t last very long in the role? Turnover can happen for a variety of reasons but usually it’s because the employee didn’t meet expectations or the job wasn’t what they expected so they leave.
If the interviewer tells you: This is the 5th person they’ve hired in the last year… this begs a follow-up question or two.
- Were the others fired or did they quit and why?
- If they were fired, it could be a management problem and you need to explore the management style and meet that manager. It could be that the goals of the position were set too high.
- If they say the employees were promoted (internal advancement) find out why.
Is the company promoting people internally? That can be a good sign that they invest in their employees. They may have a strong training program or they may realize that people will burn out if they stay in the job too long.
- Ask where people are going internally and find out why. Is it because the company is growing, have new projects, or both.
What if they tell you the position is brand new?
- Find out why they need the new role. What is driving the addition of this job.
- A brand new position boasts of risk and reward. That can be a wonderful challenge to some people. It’s also likely that the performance metrics will change. At least enter into the job knowing what you are faced with.
Ask About Peformance Expectations
You want to find out how performance will be evaluated for existing and especially brand new positions. Plus how they came up with the performance metrics.
But what if they tell you that they haven’t defined the performance expectations yet, they’re waiting for the person to start… this is a very red flag.
It is not only OK to ask “why is this position available”, it is mandatory. It would also be a good idea to ask the different people you interview this question to see if their answers match.
More Questions To Ask During The Job Interview
Many of the questions you ask questions are based what is important to you in your next job. Check out this list of questions you can ask during a job interview (or while having conversations before the interview).
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.