We all know that poor interview preparation is a key reason for people missing out on roles. However, even when a person does prepare, one aspect they often overlook is the questions they will ask of the employer. Picture the scene as the interview draws to a close and the interview asks “what questions do you have of us?” When the reply is simply “none”, the impression is not necessarily positive.
Certainly a more favourable impression is created by posing some quality questions. Kate Smedley is a career coach and in a recent article she advised that a great chance to stand out from other applicants exists when you are given this opportunity during an interview. She provides a list of generic questions to consider, questions which (a) provide really important information to you as the interviewee; and (b) indicate your preparation and interest to the employer.
Kate suggests going to interview with a list of 6 or 7 questions with the intention of asking 3 or 4. She provides the following list:
Why is this job vacant?
It is valuable to learn if the role is newly created, the result of an internal promotion or an employee’s resignation. This will give insight into what you are walking into if offered the role.
What do you expect from the successful candidate in the first three months?
It is important to learn how long the employer’s wish list is of the expected outcomes in the first 3 months. Do you think the targets realistic? If not, you may want to think again.
What key challenges will the successful candidate face in the first three months in delivering these outcomes?
An obvious and important follow-up question.
What does a typical working week involve in this position?
What will you actually be doing? This will provide crucial insights into their company culture and the nuts & bolts of your possible new role. This question often leads to insights about the amount of travel required or the out-of-hours work expected of the role.
What common characteristics are shared by your most successful people?
This will provide you with another indication of whether or not the culture fit is right for you.
What career development opportunities are available with your company?
Despite flattening of organisation structures and cutbacks, the better employers provide mentoring, training and personal development.
What key challenges is the organisation facing?
Your research will have provided some insights already but the stability of the organisation could be crucial in your decision-making so you’re seeking as much data as you can obtain.
Why do you work for this company?
If the hiring manager’s answer is less than positive, you need to reassess. If the response is vague, you can ask the interviewer to identify the company’s core values.
I am really interested in this opportunity. Do you need any more information to demonstrate my suitability for the role?
This is an attempt to close any loopholes as well as giving you a last chance to reinforce your desire for the role.
A final tip on follow-up
Always send a post-interview thank you note to your interviewer.
You can read the full article from Kate Smedley by clicking here
View related article How to Create a Great Impression During an Interview.