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5 Questions for Role Clarification During Interviews

By:   |   Last Updated: 2017-08-17   |   Comments   |   Related Tips: More > Professional Development Interviewing


Many new employees and contractors will start looking for another job shortly after starting one and the rationale for this often being that the job is not aligning with what they were expecting, priorities are unrealistic, or they don't feel like they have the skill set or abilities to successfully meet expectations. While some companies and managers are effective interviewers in the sense that they provide an accurate overview of what the role will truly entail, many are not.


Job seekers need to be skilled at position "requirements gathering" during the interview process so they can determine a strong understanding of what the job will truly be and require, and as a result, if they would be both a fit for, and happy in that role.

Here are five themes/questions around what you should be asking during the interview process to help with role clarification.

  1. What are the current organizational, group and/or team business needs and pain points you're hoping this role will contribute to?  This helps you understand the “why” behind the position and its overall purpose.

  2. How will you measure success? What are you expecting this individual to accomplish within the first three months, six months and one year?  This will provide insight into the true priorities and the success criteria.

  3. Will you break down your complete technical landscape for me? What are all the tools, technologies, third party controls, methodologies, processes, etc. that your group/team uses and follows?  What is on the docket to implement and/or upgrade to in the next 6-24 months?  This helps you determine a clearer picture of full technology stacks and their tech strategy/roadmap.

  4. What challenges do you foresee this role facing?  This will help set your expectations on “the good, the bad and the ugly” of the role.

  5. What skill sets and technical competencies do you view as an absolute requirement for being successful in this role?  Managers often list a lot of requirements/plusses, but there are always a handful that stand out amongst the rest.

Next Steps

However you want to tweak the verbiage/line of questioning, ensure you’re asking questions that will help accurately gauge:

  • The purpose of the role (i.e. how is it supporting team/organizational objectives or challenges)
  • Key priorities and expectations
  • Current technology landscape as well as future technology roadmap
  • Expected challenges
  • Primary requirements vs. what’s a preferred qualification
About the author
Cate Murray is responsible for managing the nationally-based talent acquisition strategies of the Apex Systems PMO and Business Analysis Practice.

Last Updated: 2017-08-17

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Erica Woods Erica Woods has nearly a decade in the IT staffing world, an MBA, and is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.

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