This is one important job interview question you should always ask.
The job interview is so much more than just selling yourself. Yes, you have to do that, 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.
Many of the questions you ask questions are based what is important to you in your next job. FYI, that means, you have to know what you want. (You can learn about that here).
Why Ask This Important Job Interview Question
Asking “Why is this position available” can be incredibly insightful. You want to understand the logic the company has for needing this position. Is it turnover, internal advancement, growth?
If the interviewer tells you: You are the 5th person we’ve hired in the last year… this begs a follow-up question or two. Were the others fired, promoted, 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. Explore the expectations of the position fully. If they have been promoting these people, find out why. Growth, new projects, both. Others leaving? If there has been a mass exodus higher up in the company, that’s good to know, find out why.
What if they tell you the position is brand new. Again, find out why. What is driving the addition of this job. Keep in the back of your mind the old saying: “last in, first out”. You also want to find out how performance will be evaluated for this new position and how they came up with the numbers. But what if they tell you that they haven’t defined the performance expectations yet, they’re waiting for the person to start…warning, danger Will Robinson. An undefined job is usually first on the chopping block. A brand new position boasts of risk and reward. That can be a wonderful challenge to some people. At least enter into the job knowing what you are faced with.
It is not only OK to ask this question, 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.
If you are looking for additional questions to ask, check out Interview Questions YOU Can Ask.
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.