The most important thing to remember is that an interview is a two way process…
You’re there to find out information about your employer as much as they’re there to find out about you – and the more details you know, the better you’ll be able to ascertain your suitability for the job. In other words, always be prepared for the obligatory ‘do you have any questions?’ line.
To avoid any embarrassing responses, here are some potential questions for you to ask employers:
Can you tell me more about the company?
This question will help you to learn more about the company and what they do, as well as give you an opportunity to demonstrate how well you’ve researched it.
You can also personalise it by asking about the workplace, what the environment is like, and why it’s a great place to work.
And although this question is a great way to find out more about the clients the employer deals with, their industry, and the marketplace in general – use your initiative before you ask it. The last thing you want to do is go over ground you’ve already covered.
Is this post a new or existing one?
This can help give you an idea of what’s expected of you, and can lead to a wider discussion.
If it’s a new post, then ask why it’s been created or how your performance will be measured. If it’s an existing one, ask who you’ll be replacing (and if they’re big shoes to fill). This can also set groundwork to further discuss your potential responsibilities and duties.
But again, always use your initiative here (see above).
How many other people are there in the team?
Not only will asking this give you a better idea of what it would be like to work there, and whether the team dynamic will suit your way of working – it’ll also give you an idea of who’s in your team in terms of their specific roles, and how they relate to your position.
And, if you’ve talked about working well in a team on your CV, this can be a great way of demonstrating your capabilities.
What would my day-to-day responsibilities be?
This is a proactive way to figure out whether the role is actually right for you.
Find out what a typical day in the role would entail, and ask your interviewer if they can describe your area of responsibility, and what their expectations are.
That way, there will be no surprises if you end up being offered the job.
What are the promotion prospects?
The last thing you want is to fall into a dead-end job all because you didn’t find out more about the potential for career progression.
To ensure you’ll be given the opportunities to move up within the company, ask how the position fit into the company’s long-term plans, and see if there’s a clearly defined career path for you to follow.
It’s also a great way to demonstrate your drive and desire to progress within the company.
Do you run any training schemes?
This is another chance to find out about progression, development and training – but one which isn’t necessarily motivated by a promotion or financial gain.
After all, when it comes to job satisfaction, personal development can often be just as important as career development. And, if you’ve got a personal development plan, this is the perfect opportunity to discuss where you see your career going, and show how their organisation could fit in with your overall goals.
What are the company’s plans for the future?
Asking this is a great way to show that you’re interested in the company – not just the industry as a whole. It will also allow the recruiter the chance to get overly excited whilst talking about their plans (something some recruiters have been known to enjoy).
However, there is a slight possibility that you won’t always understand everything your interviewers are talking about here.
So if all else fails, just smile and nod.
How would you describe the ideal candidate?
Approach this question with caution.
Although it’s a great way to see if your answers have ticked all the boxes, build up a good rapport before you ask it. Because if you’re not sure your performance was what they were looking for, you might not like their answer.
And no matter what they say, it’s probably safest to not add anything afterwards – especially if it’s to say how much it sounds like you.
When can I expect to hear from you?
This is the perfect way to end an interview – so don’t forget it.
Not only does it show that you’re keen, it’s also good for your peace of mind. No-one wants to sit by the phone for a week, waiting for it to ring – especially if it turns out it’s not going to for a minimum of two weeks because they have other interviews to do.
And if you don’t hear back even after asking this, here’s why they haven’t called – and how you can get feedback.
Of course, you don’t have to stick to these questions, and they won’t necessarily work in every situation. Especially if you think of more specific to your interview during your conversation.
However, it’s always best to have a few prepared just in case you do draw a blank.
And remember: this is a bonus opportunity to sell yourself as the best person for the job.
Don’t pass it up.
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