Have you even been caught out in a job interview when the interviewer asks “Do you have any questions for us?” There’s nothing worse than feeling that all familiar wave of panic as you realise that you haven’t prepared for this situation and subsequently struggle to come up with a question just to be polite. As I said, there’s NOTHING worse. If you ask the wrong questions or have nothing to say at all, this is a sign of a candidate who’s not engaged and is simply going through the motions. Chances are if this is you at the interview, you won’t get past the first stage. A candidate who probes and has questions of substance will be viewed as a more engaged candidate.
Preparation is the key
It’s really not difficult to prepare questions for the interview. Basically, it’s researching the company so that you can form a good picture of the business and exactly what they do. Visit the company website and find out as much relevant information as you can. The interview will then give you the opportunity to see if the organisation is the right cultural, technical and career fit for you.
Below are 5 interview questions that great candidates ask and an explanation on why you need to ask them.
1. Is this a new position? If not, why did the previous position holder leave?
If the position is a newly created role, this means the company is busy and needs another pair of hands to manage the workload. If they are looking to fill an existing role, it’s an opportunity to find out why the last person left. It may be simply maternity leave, a career change, or an internal promotion. Be a little concerned if the answer is that they left due to internal conflict or some type of negative situation. This could signal a problem or difficult colleagues within the team.
2. What are the training and development opportunities?
This answer will give you a clear idea of how serious the organisation is about developing their talent. A progressive and supportive company will have plenty to offer in the way of training opportunities for the successful candidate.
3. What attributes do you think are best suited for this position?
If the answer from the interviewer is ‘someone who is compassionate and comfortable dealing with people’ and you prefer to keep to yourself and work in a more autonomous role, then this may not be the ideal position for you. If the attributes required for the role align perfectly with your personality, then the position may be ideal for you.
4. If the perfect person for this job sat in front of you, how would you know it?
This may seem like a confronting question to ask at the job interview but it will give you the insight into exactly what type of person the organisation is looking for.
5. What’s the next step in the interview process?
Not only is this question a great way to round off the interview, but it also reveals the urgency of finding the right candidate . If the role needs to be filled quickly, the interviewer may say they will let you know about the next stage sometime over the next couple of days. If there is no urgency to fill the position, they may say that they will make a decision over the next few weeks. Either way, it gives you a good idea of when they are likely to make a decision which makes it easier for you to coordinate other job interviews.
So as you can see, spending a little time preparing before the interview can not only give you a much clearer idea of the role you are applying for but also set you up as the best candidate of the day!