Job interviews - it’s difficult to get a job without them and yet they can make people break out in a cold sweat. Even the most seemingly confident people can have a brain meltdown in an interview and just freeze. But the key to try to make sure that doesn’t happen is preparation.
So the focus for this particular blog is the questions you should be asking at the end of the interview when the interviewer asks whether you have any. Try not to say no! But likewise, don’t ask about maternity benefits, car parking spaces and what company phone you’re going to get.
My top 4 questions YOU should be asking at interview and WHY:
1) Is there anything else you’d like further clarification on?
This is actually a great question to ask for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it shows an awareness that you are keen to ensure that the interviewer has the best possible picture of you and your experience. It shows you are eager to discuss every aspect of the role and how you can contribute. But secondly, it can sometimes act as a mini-feedback session at the end of the interview. If the interviewer says “No I have a very clear picture, thank you”, you can tell that you’ve answered their questions pretty well. However, if they say “Actually, can you clarify what you meant by ABC”, it’s your chance to make sure you leave the interview in the best possible light.
2) What are the key goals for this position within the first year?
This shows not only your awareness of the meaningful objectives that you will be required to deliver to the organisation, but also your willingness to focus on them. A good structured answer from the interviewer will also confirm to you that the company has a clear focus for this role and that they are serious about hiring. Feel free to ask about shorter term goals, such as the three month probation period. Again, it will show the company that they have already thought about this, that they have a plan in place and that you’ll be able to hit the ground running.
3) How does this role fit within the organisation as a whole?
This shows you are thinking about your interest in the wider organisation and are keen to find out about the how the structure of the company works. It also gives you an opportunity to find out which teams you would be interacting with on a regular basis and how your contribution would affect the rest of the company. Last but not least, it shows that you have an interest in teamwork.
4) What do you personally like most about the company culture?
It’s great to get an insider’s view. Simply asking someone to describe their company culture, will probably get you a fairly generic answer and one that they think you want to hear. But by framing the question in this way, people are more likely to pick out 2-3 key, personal things like they like about it such as “We always have Friday drinks in the pub next door” or “Working from home is not an issue here”. This will give you a better idea as to whether these are they kind of things you are looking for within a company culture.
Hopefully this should give you a good starting point as to the sorted of questions that go down well at interviews. Try to have about 4 in your mind going in, just in case some of them are answered during the course of the interview. We see all the time that a little preparation like this can make all the difference!