10 Ques­tions You Need to Ask at Your Next In­ter­view

It’s not all about what the in­ter­viewer asks you: im­press­ing your next boss comes down to the ques­tions you ask them, too. Here’s what you need to know

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - By LIsa Katz

We’ve all heard the dreaded line: ‘Do you have any ques­tions for us?’ Do you usu­ally ner­vously shake your head? Well, in your next job in­ter­view, you’re not go­ing to do that. In­stead, you’re go­ing to glean vi­tal info on the va­cancy and im­press your in­ter­viewer with in­sight­ful ques­tions that show you mean busi­ness – and that you will be a great ad­di­tion to theirs. ‘In­ter­view­ing is a two-way street,’ says Jessica O’Gor­man, re­cruiter for Uber’s Mid­dle East and Africa re­gions. ‘Yes, the com­pany is as­sess­ing whether you’re the right fit – but you should ab­so­lutely be do­ing the same. You should leave every in­ter­view feel­ing com­fort­able that you’ve gained in­sight on the role and the com­pany.’ Start with these queries: 1 What is the com­pany cul­ture like?

In­sight into things such as dress code, work­ing from home, f lex­itime and over­all com­pany val­ues is valu­able in help­ing you un­der­stand whether the com­pany you’re ap­ply­ing at is right for you. ‘It’s like try­ing to un­der­stand the per­son­al­ity of a com­pany – if your per­son­al­i­ties clash, it might not be a good fit for either party,’ says O’Gor­man. It also shows you care about your work­ing en­vi­ron­ment – a pos­i­tive sign to a po­ten­tial em­ployer that you’ll in­vest in them if they hire you.

2 What do you do as a com­pany to en­sure a pro­duc­tive work­ing en­vi­ron­ment?

First up, your in­ter­viewer hears ‘pro­duc­tive’ – a great buzz word to re­mind them you’re ef­fi­cient and look­ing to give them great re­turn on their next in­vest­ment: you. But it also helps you un­der­stand how you’ll be looked af­ter if you’re hired, and whether you’ll have sup­port in ex­e­cut­ing your role. Does the com­pany in­vest in team de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties such as off-site brain­storms or team-build­ing ex­er­cises? ‘You’re work­ing with strangers, so you need to know what the com­pany does to en­sure a col­lab­o­ra­tive work­ing en­vi­ron­ment,’ says Farah For­tune, di­rec­tor at African Star Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

3 Is this a re­place­ment role or a new po­si­tion?

‘Un­der­stand­ing whether you’re com­ing into some­thing fresh that you can mould and de­velop as your own ver­sus pick­ing up where some­one else left off is im­por­tant, and will be es­sen­tial for your short- and long-term suc­cess in the po­si­tion,’ says O’Gor­man. It also demon­strates to the hirer that you’re al­ready be­ing proac­tive about what you’ll be able to add to the role, and that you’re in­ter­ested in the de­tails of the po­si­tion.

4 are there growth op­por­tu­ni­ties in this role?

This ques­tion shows your am­bi­tion and de­sire to be a part of the com­pany for the long run – and it’s an op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore whether or not the com­pany in­vests in its em­ploy­ees’ ca­reer by pro­vid­ing fund­ing for ad­di­tional train­ing and skills de­vel­op­ment.

5 What are the day-to­day re­spon­si­bil­i­ties?

‘It’s ex­tremely im­por­tant to ask about the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the role – you want to be sure that the role is right for you and that you’re aware of the com­pany’s ex­pec­ta­tions,’ says Ta­mara Wolpert, gen­eral man­ager at re­cruit­ment firm Viv Gor­don Place­ments. Even bet­ter, it of­fers you a tactical op­por­tu­nity to boast. Does the role in­clude client meet­ings? Great! Tell the in­ter­viewer why that’s per­fectly suited to you and your ex­pe­ri­ence.

6 What do you like about work­ing at the com­pany?

This isn’t just about get­ting the in­ter­viewer to give you the in­side track on the com­pany’s cul­ture – it has a psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect too. Ac­cord­ing to a 2012 study pub­lished in the jour­nal Mem­ory, feel­ings of nos­tal­gia can en­cour­age

so­cial con­nect­ed­ness, so by get­ting the in­ter­viewer to rem­i­nisce about happy mo­ments, you’re in­creas­ing the chances that they’ll as­so­ci­ate you with all the good feels – which will be great when they’re con­sid­er­ing your ap­pli­ca­tion.

7 What are the next steps in the in­ter­view process?

Ask­ing this ques­tion in­di­cates that you’re ea­ger to con­tinue with the process – and that you’re ex­pect­ing suc­cess (you go, girl!) with­out ap­pear­ing pre­sump­tu­ous. Know­ing when or if you can ex­pect feed­back will also al­low you to for­mu­late a re­al­is­tic time­line for your­self with re­gards to fol­low­ing up. Diarise the time­line sup­plied, then pop off an e-mail or per­son­alised note po­litely fol­low­ing up a day or two af­ter your feed­back was promised. It’ll keep you top of mind.

8 What’s the ive-year plan for the com­pany or depart­ment?

The an­swer to this ques­tion will give you in­sight into the ca­reer path for your po­si­tion, and whether it aligns with your ca­reer goals. ‘You need to know whether you’ll be able to grow with the com­pany,’ says For­tune. It also shows that you’re look­ing for a longterm ca­reer in the com­pany, rather than aim­ing to bounce af­ter a few months.

9 What do you hope the new hire will achieve in the irst three months in the role?

‘I’m al­ways im­pressed by some­one who asks me this be­cause it tells me they’re fo­cused and goal-ori­ented – and that they’re al­ready think­ing about com­pany tar­gets,’ says Kim van der Linden, head of tal­ent at As­so­ci­ated Me­dia Pub­lish­ing.

10 What are the most im­por­tant qual­i­ties for some­one to ex­cel in this role?

This ques­tion will ul­ti­mately de­ter­mine whether or not you’re a good fit for the role – and it def­i­nitely gives the im­pres­sion that you’re driven to suc­ceed. Plus it’s an­other great op­por­tu­nity to take the in­ter­viewer’s an­swer and ex­plain how you’ve got those qual­i­ties down.■

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