You may have prepared yourself for the interview, but make sure you’ve considered the whole process. If you’re struggling to keep a clear head, there’s no invitation more disconcerting than your interviewer asking the obligatory ‘do you have any questions?’
The most important thing to remember is that the interview is a two way process. You’re there to find out information about them as much as they are there to find out about you. This is your chance to find out information that isn’t in the job description, and this can help you make an informed decision about whether you definitely want the job.
To avoid any embarrassing mumbled responses, here are some potential questions for you to consider and prepare for.
Can you tell me more about the company?
Ask about the clients they deal with, their industry and the marketplace in general. This is a pretty generic solution, but you can personalise it by asking about the workplace, what the environment is like, and why it’s a great place to work.
This one is all about using your initiative. If your interviewer has talked about the company at length, it’s probably worth leaving out. However, if you’ve only talked about your role, use this opportunity to show them what you’ve found out from your own research.
For example: ‘I found out from your website that honesty is one of your key values. How do you demonstrate this throughout your business?’
Is this post a new or existing one?
This can help give you an idea of what’s expected of you, and can lead to a wider discussion. If it is, then ask why it’s been created or how your performance will be measured. If it’s an existing one, ask who you’ll be replacing (and if they’re big shoes to fill).
Again, it’s best to use your initiative here (see above).
How many other people are there in the team?
If you’re going to be working as part of a larger team, it’s good to get an idea of who that team consists of. What are their specific roles, and how does that relate to this position? If you’ve talked about working well in a team on your CV, this can be a great way of demonstrating the point.
What would my day-to-day responsibilities be?
Find out what a typical day in the role would entail. Ask your interviewer if they can describe your area of responsibility, and what their expectations are. This way, there will be no surprises if you end up being offered the job.
What are the promotion prospects?
How does this position fit into the company’s long-term plans? Is there a clearly defined career path? Once again, this is a great way for you to demonstrate your drive and desire to progress within the company.
Also, it’s a great way for your interviewer to demonstrate that you won’t be stuck in a dead end job.
Do you run any training schemes?
Similar to the previous question, this is another chance to find out about progression, development and training, but one which isn’t necessarily motivated by a promotion or financial gain. Personal development can often be just as important as career development for job satisfaction.
Showing that you’re keen to keep learning can make you a much more desirable candidate.
What are the company’s plans for the future?
This can be a great question, indicating that you’re interested about the business as a whole, and not just concentrating on yourself. It will also allow management to brag (something that some managers enjoy quite a bit).
There’s a possibility that you won’t always understand everything your interviewers are talking about here. If all else fails, just smile and nod.
How would you describe the ideal candidate?
Probably the killer question to ask. If you’ve built up a good rapport by this point this question is perfect, and means you can find out how well your answers have ticked the boxes.
This question is strong enough for you to not follow up. Especially avoid saying how much it sounds like you. No matter how good your rapport is, an oversized ego is never a good look.
When can I expect to hear from you?
Don’t forget this last one. This not only shows you’re keen, it’s also good for your peace of mind. No-one wants to sit by the phone for the next week, waiting for it to ring.
Of course, you don’t have to stick to these questions, and they won’t necessarily work in every situation. Keep them in mind though. You never know when they might come in handy.
But, whatever happens, remember: this is an extra opportunity to sell yourself as the best person for the job. And one which you should take full advantage of.