Near the end of a typical job interview, the interviewer will pause and ask the candidate if they have any questions. There are lots of things the candidate can ask at that juncture, but one really stands out: “How will this position evolve over the long term?”
There are good reasons to ask that question. Some jobs have a very limited focus: You’re there to develop a mobile app to support the company’s new cloud-based productivity platform, for instance. Others are broader in scope: You might be tasked with refining the development team’s workflow, or completely revamping the company’s marketing campaign.
However the interviewer answers, it will give you a clue as to how the company regards the scope of your job. If it’s limited, you will need to consider whether you want to work a job that might end in a year or two—or if you’re willing to put in the effort to evolve the role in a whole new direction, on your own. On the other hand, if the interviewer hints that the job will grow to encompass many large, strategic priorities, you could take that as a good sign—unless you want a job that’s tightly focused, in which case the one under consideration might not be the best fit.
Asking the question can also help you land the job, as it shows the interviewer that you’re a “big picture” thinker. If you’re asking how the role will evolve, you’re clearly someone who envisions sticking with things for the long term.