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
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.■