Although job interview styles may vary greatly (ie. very formal, informal, conversational-like), they all provide you with an opportunity to get more information but more importantly to make an impact.
Think of the interview as a two-way street: interviewers are asking you questions and they expect the same in return! ‘Do you have any questions?’ says the recruiter at the end of the interview, and the correct answer is ‘Yes, I do!’, because trust us: the interviewer will appreciate if you do.
Your chance to ask questions usually comes at the end of the interview. Plan ahead and prepare questions of your own prior to the interview. As you do your pre-interview company research, make note of topics that you’d like to discuss with the interviewers. Prepare the questions so that they demonstrate your interest in the position, your drive to thrive in the job, the fact that you have done your homework and establish if the job is the right fit for you. Here is what you should keep in mind when structuring the questions:
Don’t ask for the sake of asking
Are you coming short of questions to ask? Don’t fill the gap with a question you have already been given answer to (during the interview or on the company’s website). Here is an example: if the interviewer has told you already that it is a new position, it will be pointless to ask if it the position has been recently created. Instead, you may inquire how the position will help the department achieve its goals.
Stick to open-ended questions
Remember, the interview is a two-way street and you want to start a dialogue. Asking open-ended questions will help you do that. Ask questions starting with how, when, what, why…
Avoid ‘Me’ questions.
At this stage, you need to convince the employer that you want to be hired because of what you can bring to the company and the experience you can gain there, not just because of the financial benefits the position will bring. That’s why our advice is to initially avoid questions such as ‘’What benefits does the company offer?’’ and focus more on how you will benefit the company. Once the company clearly expresses an interest in hiring you, then you can ask more about salary, benefits…
Don’t be too broad or irrelevant.
You don’t want to ask questions you won’t get an answer to, so make sure your questions are not too general or don’t apply to the position you have applied for. For example, don’t ask a question relevant to the financial department if you applied for a marketing job. More importantly, never relate in any way to the interviewer’s personal life!
If you are struggling to come up with relevant questions, here is a spark of inspiration you may refer to:
- What skills and experience would make an ideal candidate for the role?
Here is your second chance to present a skill you forgot to cover during the interview.
- What is the best part of working for this company?
The answer will reveal an insight into the working environment and how satisfied the employees are with their work.
- Can you tell me more about the L&D opportunities that the company offers?
That is how you present yourself as a life-long learning professional, willing to grow alongside their employer.
- What can you tell me about the other members of the team?
Asking that questions will give you some background information about your ‘future’ colleagues. Show that you are a team player and knowing your team is important to you.
- What are you expecting for the new member to accomplish in the first three months?
Show that you are results-driven and ready to step in the position straightaway.
- How would you describe this company’s values?
See if they match your personal and professional values.
- What support system do you have in place to help new members adjust initially?
This question is very important especially if the job involves relocating to another city or moving abroad.
- What is the next step in the recruitment process?
This question invites the interviewer to tell you how many candidates are running for the position and also shows that you are interested in moving forward.
- Do you have any further questions?
The answers to these questions will help you figure out whether you will thrive in the job and whether it is the right position for you. Don’t forget: asking the right questions at the job interview will help you get the answers you need. And do you need some from us? Go ahead and ask us in the comments section below!