One of the key parts on any interview is when the interviewer asks the interviewee if they have any questions. Many jobseekers are never sure how much detail to go into at this stage and it’s not always easy to strike a balance – ask too many questions and it can seem presumptive but ask too few and it can give the impression that you’re not interested in the role.
Yet the key to doing well at interview isn’t always just giving good answers…sometimes it’s about asking good questions too!
You won’t always get the opportunity to ask as many questions as you answer so it’s just as well to have some prepared. You may well be looking for some clarity around the company’s business or structure, and any logistical issues you see around the role, but to give yourself the best chance to success you’ll need to get answers to these questions:
Why is the role open?
Is this a newly created position or has someone left or been promoted? If it’s new you’ll probably want to find out more about why it’s been created and what expectations the company have for the role. If the previous incumbent has left you may want to find out why.
What challenges does the interviewer see in the role?
You should always try to get the person interviewing you to talk about challenges, not problems. It shows that you are looking positively at the role! Some challenges may be structural from within the business, some may be to do with skills or capabilities and others arising from expectations. You need to know which if you are to succeed.
What are the company’s expectations?
If these haven’t been covered in the previous answer then ask directly. You want to know where the company see the role going, and also how they see the successful candidate developing. Careful how you ask this as you don’t want it to look like you may well reject them…use it as an opportunity to find out more about how the company sees the role and what success looks like.
What will the priorities be?
If something’s going to go wrong in a new job it will invariably happen in the first three months. You need to really understand what your immediate priorities will be. You also need to try to get an understanding of the company’s on boarding process and, if it’s a new position, what kind of support you can expect.
Are you the right person?
If the interview’s going well then this is the one you’ll really want to know the answer to! Particularly if there are areas where you don’t match the spec and you can do something about it whilst you’re in the interview. Be careful how you ask it though. If you are too direct – as in ‘do you think I’m a good fit for the job?’ – then there is a chance that you may get a vague answer. You need to show your interest in the role and ask if there are any reasons stopping you from being considered. Hopefully there won’t be, but if there are then you want the opportunity show the interviewer that you are more than capable of meeting the criteria!