Sometimes, candidates forget that the questions they ask are just an important as the answers they give during interview. The questions are important for two reasons. Firstly, you find the answers you need to help you decide whether or not this is the company you want to work for. Secondly, the interviewers gain an insight into the person you are which helps them decide if you are right for the job.
That makes these questions pretty important. They aren’t the kinds of questions you can think of ‘off the cuff’ at interview. While it is important to retain some spontaneity, take the time to prepare your most important questions in advance. You will not only find the answers you need, but you will demonstrate to the interviewer that you’ve been thinking long and hard about the company and the role.
What kinds of questions might you ask? The most important questions will centre on your opportunities for development, the issues you might face in the role, and the expectations of people within the organisation.
Here are some suggestions.
What are the most significant requirements to this position?
It is very educational to hear the interviewer’s understanding of the position, and the skills and knowledge it requires. The answer to this question will help you formulate a closing statement which can then cover anything that you feel might have been overlooked in formal questioning.
How do my credentials fit the role?
Ask the interviewer if your qualifications and experience seem relevant to them. If they are unsure you will have a chance to elaborate on why you think so, or find out more.
What are some challenges faced by employees here, and how might a person in the offered position help resolve them?
Show you are interested in contributing to the long term success of the organisation. The answer will tell you a lot about the culture within the organisation, as well as the way it manages conflict or confusion.
How is professional development handled?
This questions will help you get a sense of how important your advancement will be to the organisation, and how much training is provided. You need to see that there scope to expand on your current skill levels. The job might look fabulous on paper, but if it is a dead end, you need to consider whether or not it is worth taking on.
How do performance evaluations or reviews work?
Find out how much feedback you can expect once work begins, and who it is from. This will tell you a lot about how closely you will be supervised and how important such feedback is considered to be.
Who will I report to?
Discover the hierarchy of the organisation and how you might fit within it.
What are the future plans for the company?
How forward thinking is the company? Can you be confident of job security? Will the plans of the company still fit your values in the future?
Of course there are many questions that may help you find the best job for you, but these will give you lots to consider. We recommend building a set of 6 questions as part of your interview preparation. These will become the questions you choose from at interview. Don’t ask them all, of course. Just choose those which are most suitable for each interview.
Never ignore the chance to ask questions when the opportunity arises. Your carefully considered question may be the very thing that wins you the position.