Welcome to a new episode of interview questions and answers. Today’s topic is what questions should you be asking the interviewer (also what not to ask)
So once the interviewer has finished asking you all the questions they have, they like to ask if you have any questions. Everyone tells you that the interviewer likes if you ask questions (the right kind of questions that is) and that it shows you are keen and interested. However, sometimes this question can throw people off and either they don’t have any questions to ask or end up fumbling a question together that doesn’t need to be answered or has already been answered. Neither of these may look particularly good to an interviewer.
So, what kind of questions should you ask?
The questions should be combination of issues that are important to you and show an interest in the company and the job role. Often, most the immediate questions that you may have had could have already been answered during the course of the interview. It is also important to ask any questions you may have about the company as an interview works both ways – its for you to see if the company is right for you, as much as it is for them to see if you are right for the company.
Its a good idea to have some questions prepared before you go into the interview, perhaps ones you feel may not be included the main body of the interview.
There are some different types of questions you could ask. To begin with are some examples of questions regarding the role of the job. These are a good style of question to ask as it shows you are interested in the job role and have an interest in understanding more about the job itself. Some examples included:
• What would my day-to-day responsibilities be?
• Where does this job role fit in the team and company structure?
• Is this post a new or existing one?
Next, are some examples of what the company is like. As mentioned above, these questions are important so you can assess whether you feel the company is right for you:
• What does the company expect from its employees?
• How is the level of staff turnover in the company?
• What is the company culture like?
• What are the company’s plans for the future?
Asking questions about the company will not only help you learn more about the company but is also an opportunity to show how well you have researched the role – this will in turn demonstrate you are passionate about the job. However you want to make sure that you do not come across sounding like you do not know anything about the company. You don’t want to seem like you are asking “What does your company do?” as the interviewer may be inclined to believe you have not done your research about the company and therefore have no real interest in working for them.
You may also want to ask some questions about the expectations of the role. These questions could include:
• What are the expectations of someone who is hired for this position?• How do you evaluate the performance of this position?
Asking about the requirements of the job can be good information for you to know as well, so you know if you are fully prepared to start the job if you are hired or if you need to go through any training or courses. Asking about these requirements will look good to the interviewer as well as they can see you are interested in performing at your best.
It is recommended that you avoid questions regarding salary and benefits as it could come across that you are only interested the monetary benefits the company gives you, rather than a deeper insight into the role and what you can give to the company.
Whilst we are speaking of questions that should be avoided, you don’t want to ask anything that makes you sound as though you aren’t prepared to commit fully to the position. An example of this is asking about when you can take time off/holiday time.
By all means, if you have previous commitments and you have been offered the job then you can let the company know, however in the initial interview, unless asking specifically, its best not to bring up time off. You don’t want to seem like you want to take time off before you’ve even started!
The best question to leave for last – and an important one to remember – is “When can I expect to hear from you?”. This is a good question to finish with. It shows you are eagerly interested but also could stop you checking your emails, running for the mail and sitting by the phone desperately over the next few days waiting to hear from the company. Alternatively, you could ask “What is the next step in the process?”.
You may feel that this is a more appropriate question, especially if you know the interview process does have several steps. As mentioned above, this style of question shows you are interested in moving along in the process. However, you don’t want to ask “Did I get the job?” as this can come across as impatience and put interviewers on the spot and make them feel awkward. As a result of this, it can cause the interview to end of a sour note and this could potentially affect how the interviewers recalls the entire interviewer and your prospects of getting the position.
Now these questions may not always fit with what you want to know or be suitable after the course of the interview, however they can give you a good starting point for you to think of some specific questions you would like to ask in your interview. And of course, if there is a more specific question you think of during the interview, then you should of course ask it – provided it is appropriate!
So remember what you want to achieve when you ask your questions is:
• Making sure the interviewer has no doubt about you and feels confident that you are suitable for the position.
• Confirming your interest in the job and employer to the interviewer.
• Finding out more about the company itself so you can assess whether you feel the job and the company are right for you.
Here is a good video prepared by career expert Deniz Sasal;