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Find Your Fit: 10 Essential Questions to Ask During Your Job Interview

By: Jamie F., Manager, Talent Acquisition

Starting a new career journey is always exciting, and finding the right company fit is a crucial part of achieving your personal and professional goals. In this blog, we'll guide you through the 10 essential questions you should ask a recruiter during the interview process to uncover a company’s culture, values, and opportunities. We’ll also walk you through how our own Talent Advisors respond to these questions at Schwab. 

Who knows, by the end of this article, you might just want to join our team!

Question 1: Could you share what it's like working here day-to-day and how the company's culture plays a role in that experience?

Schwab Talent Advisor, Sabina F.: “The thing that I hear consistently from people who stay here, have been here for a long time, or are trying to join the company, is that the culture is one of the main things that sets us apart. I think it really starts at the leadership level – people trust the leadership here to make smart decisions. We are not a reactive company – we are stable and steady and are able to provide stability even in trying times. There is a humility in our leaders that is refreshing as well. Beyond that I think it really is the people. We tend to draw very professional, smart people to the organization who are good at working collaboratively and respectfully with the client in mind. It’s less about getting the credit and more about taking care of the customers. It makes it easy to get up every morning and go to work in that kind of an environment.”

Question 2: I'm interested in career growth. Can you tell me about the opportunities for learning and advancing within the company?

Sabina F.: “In my 16 plus years of recruiting experience, I don’t know another company that has an Internal Mobility Team as a part of Talent Acquisition. This team exists specifically to make sure we have good processes and opportunities in place for internal candidates who are looking to promote or grow. I think this says so much about Schwab’s commitment to team members. We are adding programs even right now such as “Grow with Schwab” to ensure our employees have career progression opportunities and more chances to learn and grow. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of Schwabbies who started in one part of the organization and have moved over and up and built very seasoned careers here. It’s a place you can grow a long term career.”

Question 3: How does the company view work-life balance, and are there options for flexible schedules or remote work?

Sabina F.: “The best way that I can describe this is that I feel like Schwab treats us like adults. I really do believe that the leadership here understands that everyone has a life outside of work and that it’s important. The way I see this in my own life is that I am not being bombarded with emails after normal working hours or on weekends – which can be a norm in some organizations. There is also an understanding that there is flexibility. If I need to take my dog to the vet in the morning, for instance, I may work a little later that evening. There is trust and understanding that you need to meet your goals and get your work done. Also, every five years, Schwab wants you to take a month-long sabbatical to do something unique and get refreshed. It is a very normal part of our DNA that someone from our team may be on sabbatical at any given time, and we celebrate what they got to do during that time once they return to work.”

Question 4: I'm all about teamwork. Could you give me a sense of the team dynamics and how people collaborate here?  

Sabina F.: “Collaboration is a big part of how we operate at Schwab. As a recruiter, one thing I’ve noticed is that “collaboration” is one of the most commonly selected competencies a hiring manager chooses to evaluate during the interview process. I think that’s because without it, it would be difficult to work here. Among our own teams, we have a lot of communication going on, whether that’s through Teams chats, regular group meetings, or one-on-ones. But then we also work cross-functionally with so many other teams outside of our own area, that it really is crucial to be able to build strong relationships and partnerships throughout the entire enterprise. These relationships can even lead to further career opportunities within Schwab as people see how you perform or what you are capable of. I see Schwab as a giant network that I’m honored to be a part of!”

Question 5: Diversity and inclusion are important to me. How does the company embrace these values in its day-to-day operations?

Schwab Talent Advisor, Sarah T.: “This is a deep well. We have Employee Resource Groups that represent groups of diversity from BPACS (Black Professionals at Charles Schwab) to CSAN (Charles Schwab Abilities Network) to PRIDE (LGBTQIA+), GLOBE (International & Multicultural Professionals at Charles Schwab) and many more. Our Diversity and Inclusion team works with our leaders to help them understand that inclusivity is about support, partnership, flexibility, and balance. If we don’t have representation of all possible clients, how can we see through their eyes? Understanding our differences and leveraging them helps us ‘see through clients’ eyes.’”

Question 6: I love being creative. Can you share how the company encourages innovation and values employees' input?

Sabina F.: “One great thing about Schwab is that we change at a healthy pace. We are not exactly the Schwab we were, say, five years ago – however there are certain foundational factors that will never change. This steady yet cutting-edge mindset engenders a workforce that will bring new ideas and look at things from different lenses. Our hiring managers are often looking for fresh perspectives when growing their teams, and we also have numerous project teams across the enterprise that are consistently looking at and implementing continuous improvement. It’s also reassuring to know that Schwab leadership checks in with employees – not once – but four times a year with a survey where employees are encouraged to provide feedback and voice any concerns. This is always followed up with communication about real action items being implemented.”

Question 7: What kind of training and resources are available to help employees stay current in their roles?

Sarah T.: “Each team and org have unique training programs and resources aligned to the needs of their groups. We leverage LinkedIn Learning, as well as other resources like Harvard Learning Library and our own Libby library. Each manager in Schwab Technology Services has a budget specifically for training for their team.”

Talent Advisor, Payson B.: “Specific to Client Service & Support, Schwab will provide a detailed study plan in a supported environment with paid dedicated study time.  This includes all of the resources and materials to help you study and pass the SIE, Series 7, and Series 63 licenses to help jump start you career in this industry. We also offer education reimbursement for qualifying business-related education and trainings. This includes approved training, workshops, seminars, professional certification, and licensing including FINRA. You’ll be eligible for this after 1 year of employment with Schwab.” 

Question 8: How does the company measure and recognize performance?

Payson B.: “Schwab has created a transparent career path that provides professionals with a clear understanding of what is needed to be successful in their current or future role, as well as the requirements which need to be met to be promoted or to move to other segments within Schwab. Your leader will do a great job of sitting down with you to create an "individual development plan" to find where you want to go in your career, and will create developmental goals for you to achieve in order to get there.”  

Question 9: Employee well-being matters to me. Can you tell me about the support services or initiatives in place for that?

Payson B.: “Schwab’s holistic, inclusive wellbeing program is administered by Limeade. It’s easy to use, accessible from anywhere and built to serve our diverse employee base. Wellbeing@Schwab was created to help you engage more deeply in your overall health. Through the program, we invest in you wherever you are on your wellbeing journey by providing resources to help you thrive – from planning your finances to managing a health condition.”

Question 10: I'm curious about career paths. What does a typical journey look like at this company, and is mentorship part of the picture?

Sabina F.: “As with any company, it is truly up to each individual here to own their own career path. That being said, I think Schwab has done a great job of creating a place where career growth can happen very naturally. Collaborating is such a big part of our DNA at Schwab – both within teams and also across different business lines. It really allows for solid performers and high potential individuals to be recognized/noticed by just doing their day job. If you talk to Schwabbies who have been here for years, a common theme seems to be a path that may look more like a lattice than a ladder. Being open and adaptable and having a willingness to learn new businesses or skills is often key to career growth here.”

“We have a formal ERG Mentorship program with different options depending on what you are looking for (group/cohort based, one-on-one guided matches, and self-matched programs). We also have formal mentorship programs within different orgs that are specific to growth and development in particular career areas as well. Beyond those more formal paths, mentorship is something you’ll find in your day-to-day interactions with peers and leaders.”

It’s really no secret that we prioritize the success of our people here at Schwab - and when our employees align with our values, it’s a win-win. Whether it’s here or another great company, we want you to find the role and place where you can make the biggest impact and feel the most at home. Next time you’re looking to take a new step in your career, put your best foot forward by bringing these questions to the interview to learn about a company and discover if their opportunities, growth initiatives, and goals match your ambitions.