Questions to Ask at the Interview
Now that you have secured an interview, researched the company as much as you can and thought about your unique selling points, it's time to focus on the day itself.
Everybody knows that an interview is primarily about the interviewer getting to know you and asking you questions in order to do that. However, an equally important part of an interview is finding out more about the position you are applying for and whether it is right for you.
There will come a time during the interview - usually towards the end - when the interviewer will ask you if you have anything to ask them. This is your opportunity to ensure that you gather enough information to decide whether you would like to accept the job if it were offered to you.
It is also your opportunity to demonstrate your depth of knowledge about both the company and the job role - the questions you ask will be viewed as further evidence of your interest in it and the way that you ask them is another way for you to differentiate yourself from the other candidates.
Asking questions also enables you to establish an easy flow of conversation and build rapport with your interviewer(s) - there is nothing worse than having to endure awkward silences or pauses - particularly at a time when you are out to impress!
Something that people often wonder when preparing for an interview is 'what sort of questions are okay for me to ask?' as well as 'what questions should be avoided?' The major concern being whether it is appropriate to ask about pay and benefits at this stage.
Different questions will give interviewers different impressions about your motivations for applying for the job - asking about money straightaway may not be the best approach, however, if this subject is brought up by your interviewer, then it is more than acceptable to ask for more details.
Some questions may pop into your mind whilst talking to the interviewer, which will make it a lot easier for you when it comes to your question time. However, it still is important to remember to prepare a few questions in advance, in the event that this is not the case.
Try to ask at least two or three questions which show that you have done your research and that clearly demonstrate your interest. Try to avoid asking more than half a dozen questions during the interview itself - if you are asked back for a second interview, you can always get additional answers then.
Below is a list of potential questions to consider - remember, not all of them may be appropriate for the job you are applying for, and it's also important to ensure that the questions you choose could not have already been answered during your research! The last thing you want your interviewer to think is that you haven't read up on their organisation or have 'missed the point' regarding important aspects of the job.
The questions below have been divided into three categories - the job role, the company and what happens next:
The Job Role
- Why is the position currently vacant?
- Where did the previous job holder move on to?
- What are the day-to-day duties involved in this job?
- Who will I report to?
- Do you offer any training with the role?
- How do you see this role developing in the future?
- Do you conduct regular employee performance reviews?
- Will I have responsibility for anyone else within the team?
- How quickly are you looking for somebody to fulfil this role?
- How does this department fit with the rest of the organisation?
- How is the company structured?
- Does the company have any current plans for expansion?
- What is the staff turnover like?
- When people leave the company, where do they tend to move on to?
- When was the last company restructuring?
- Does the organisation have any other branches in this country or abroad?
- When will you decide on the appointment?
- Will there be a second interview?
- Are there any additional parts to the selection process for this job?
- What is the next step?
You may find that many of these questions end up getting answered by the interviewer before you have a chance to say anything, but it's important to have a few more ready at the back of your mind.
If most of your questions do in fact get answered, whilst it may be tempting to simply ask nothing, be aware that this may give the wrong impression to your interviewer - so it is always better to ask something.
The above examples will serve as a good starting point when preparing for what you would like to ask during your interview.
Once you have received your interview date, go through this list along with the job description, person specification and any additional research that you have done, as these often also act as great prompts for any potential questions.