Stand Out By Asking Your Interviewer These Questions
by kamran saeed
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Job interviews aren’t just about finding out about the candidate, they are also about working out if the company is the right fit for the interviewee. You will usually be given the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about the company or the role and this is your final chance to demonstrate your interest in the job or to find out if it’s perhaps not the right one for you.
Some well-thought-out questions will help you stand out from the crowd and your interviewer may give you some valuable insights as to how the company operates.
You should come to your interview prepared with several questions that you’d like to ask. Some of these will naturally be answered throughout the course of the interview so it’s always best to come over-prepared. If you don’t have anything to ask when given the opportunity, you run the risk of appearing disinterested or disorganised.
Preparing your questions
If you want to make the most of this opportunity, it really is important that you come to your interview prepared. If you do your research, you’ll be able to ask questions that will demonstrate your interest in the role and in the wider industry.
While you’re carrying out your pre-interview research, make a note of any questions that occur to you that are specific to the role or the company. You’ll then be able to prioritise the most important questions and work on how you want to ask them.
First off, you’ll want to make sure that these questions are relatively open-ended (so they can’t be answered by a simple yes or no). The best interviews flow like a natural conversation and ideally you’ll want this to continue even when it’s you asking the questions. Don’t just bombard your interviewer with lots of questions and overwhelm them. If you make them uncomfortable, they’re unlikely to hire you.
We also recommend that you avoid focusing on questions about salary or benefits at this stage. While these things are very important, make sure some of your questions are focussed on what you can do for the company, rather than how they’ll benefit you.
Once you’ve got a good list of questions that you’re happy with, you might want to note them down on a copy of the job description that you take into the interview with you. You could also highlight any parts of the job description that you’d like clarifying further.
Here are some of our top example questions to get you started.
Questions to ask in an interview:
How do you measure the success of your staff?
If you want to demonstrate to your interviewer that you’re proactive and already thinking about company targets and objectives, this is a great question to ask. You’ll hopefully get some top tips on how you could stand out if you do get the job.
What is the managerial structure of the company?
It’s important to know exactly where you’ll fit into the structure of the company and who you’ll report to and be responsible for. It will also indicate to your interviewer that you’re thinking about potential progression routes within the business too.
How would you expect someone in this role to progress?
You could use this as a follow up to the previous question to really reinforce that you’re thinking about a long-term and successful career at the company. Their response will also give you a clue as to how quickly you might be able to progress too.
Where does the company want to be in 5 years time?
Asking this question will indicate that you are forward-thinking and want to work for a company that has ambition. Their answer is also likely to reveal whether or not the company has a long-term vision and if that aligns with your own vision of where you’d like to be in five years time. This question will really help with working out whether or not this is a company for you.
How long is the probationary period and what would I have to demonstrate in order to pass?
Most new employees will have to pass a probationary period which is usually three to six months long. Asking what your managers will be looking out for during this period will demonstrate that you are proactive and keen to do well. It is also a great way to prepare yourself for your first few months if you get the job.
What training opportunities are there?
It’s good to know early on how much a company invests in training its staff. If you’re not going to be given the opportunity to progress, you might want to re-think your application. Demonstrating to your interviewer that you have an eye on the future and looking to develop your skills will always be a positive.
What is the company culture like?
This is a relatively common question to come up at this stage of an interview, however, it’s really important that you have a good idea as to whether you’ll be a good fit for the company and if you’ll enjoy working there. You could even ask your interviewer to expand their answer based on their personal experience working for the company.
Is this a new role?
It’s useful to know whether or not the role has just been created or if you’ll be taking over from someone else. If it is a new role, you might need to be prepared for a few teething problems in the beginning. A newly created role will be a great opportunity for you to really make your mark.
If it’s not a new role, you could ask what your predecessor/s did particularly well and how they hope the role will develop. This could lead to some extra information as to how you can impress your new employer if you get the job.
What day-to-day tasks does this role involve?
This will give you a good idea of how your tasks will be balanced. While the job description might be quite accurate in terms of the tasks you will be responsible for, it might not tell you how much time you might be expected to spend on each. For example, the job description may mention reporting, however, you might only be expected to do this once a month or even once a quarter. This kind of detail will really help you prepare for the role.
This question might help to highlight any useful skills that you might have that will help you with these day-to-day tasks that haven’t already been mentioned. It may also highlight any gaps in your skill set that you’d be able to address before you started the role.
What are the next steps in the interview process and when can I expect to hear from you?
This question should be on everyone’s list. It’s really important that you leave the interview knowing what the next steps are. You will demonstrate that you’re keen to move onto the next stage and you’ll know if you have a bit of a wait ahead if there are still a few candidates to interview.
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