Do you have questions for me?

At the end of your interview, it is usually your turn to ask a few questions. This is a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone – asking a genuine question while conveying something new about you.
In the last few weeks we covered interview tips and common interview questions you are likely to receive in an interview. This week, we cover questions for your interviewer.

Why are questions for the interviewer important?

In most interviews, the hiring manager/employer will ask you whether you have any questions for them. This is a very important part of the interview and shouldn’t be underestimated.
  • It is a great way for the hiring manager/employer to determine how serious you are about the job and to get a good understanding of your thought process about the role.
  • It allows you as a candidate to find out more about the role
  • Candidates can also use the question process to sell themselves to the hiring manager by asking considered and intelligent questions demonstrating your knowledge about the role, industry or illustrating your desire for and commitment to the role.
  • You can also use the question to convey something new about you.
So it is important to come prepared with a list of good questions to ask in an interview and tick them off as you go.

When to ask your questions:

  1. Weaving your questions in as the interview is progressing. It demonstrates to the interviewer that you’re proactive and engaged in the process, however be respectful of the interviewer – try to avoid over-talking your interviewer, or answering a question with a question, as you could look argumentative or not interested in listening.
  2. Alternatively, wait until the end of the interview. Usually the interviewer will ask “Have you any questions for me” – however if the interviewer doesn’t ask this, you should still try to take the opportunity to ask questions.
  3. If a question has been answered during the interview – do not ask it as it may look like you weren’t listening.

How to ask your questions:

  • Don’t ask a question that can be easily answered by researching the company website or Google.
  • Try to frame your question to not just be a question, but to convey a message – for example:

Weak: Will this role provide opportunities to work in emerging markets?

Strong: I’m passionate about languages and minored in Arabic in college. Will this role provide opportunities to work with emerging markets in the Middle East?

Note how when asking the question, the candidate was able to convey his passion about languages and his qualifications. Not only does it convey an additional skill that may not have arisen in the interview, but it also allows the candidate to demonstrate how he may be able to contribute to the company in the future.

Weak: What’s Widget Co’s fastest growing division?

Strong: According to your latest financial report, your revenues grew 20% year on year. Is that because of a particular division within your company?

This is a great way to demonstrate that you have researched, follow and take interest in the company.

Top interview questions to ask:

Now taking into the account above, the below are some great foundations for questions to ask. Try to adapt them by weaving in facts specific to the job you are applying for:

  • Can you walk me through a typical day in the life of this role?

    This question helps to get down to the nitty-gritty of the day-to-day role. Sometimes, the interviewing manager can glamorize the role, but the actual reality of the role could be far from ideal. This question will help you to discover how you will really be spending your time.

  • What will be my biggest challenge in this role?

    This question has the twofold benefit of demonstrating to your interviewing manager that you are keen to tackle challenges; and helping you to uncover what unique obstacles you may face. No role is perfect; it’s important that you understand what the unique challenges of the role will be so that you can evaluate if they are challenges you feel motivated to overcome or not.

  • How will my success be measured in this role? What are the kinds of KPIs you have in place?

    This is one of the most popular questions to ask in an interview. It demonstrates that you are results-driven, which is a very appealing quality to a hiring manager. It may also help you understand if the business is one that is focussed on growth and if you will be set up for success.

  • What have you enjoyed most about working here? 

    This question gives you an opportunity to connect with your manager on a personal level, to understand his or her personal drivers and motivations. You may uncover something about his or her personal life that you can connect over, and you may also discover a little about the culture in the team and wider business.

  • Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this role, and how do I measure up? Is there anything that you think is missing from my skill set/experience?

    This question helps you to understand if the hiring manager is concerned about any gaps in your experience or skill set. Listen carefully to the answer. You may have an opportunity to allay any concerns. Alternatively, if you do indeed have a skill or experience gap, it’s an opportunity for you to convey your self-awareness and interest in training or development to bring you up to speed.

  • Why did the previous person leave this role?

    This is another good question to ask in an interview. It can help you understand if the person was promoted – which would indicate that the company encourages career development – or it may reveal if there are any cultural issues within the company that you may need to be concerned about.

  •  What are the opportunities for growth within this role? What types of training and professional development programs can you offer?

    Asking this question demonstrates to your potential employer that you are career-orientated and keen to expand your knowledge and develop within the organisation.

Final Thoughts

Having questions prepared for your interviewer is very important. Remember to look at Part 1 and 2 for other interview tips – preparation is key.

Stay tuned for Part 4 – when we discuss Phone and Video-conference Interviews tips.

If you haven’t gotten up to the interview stage, take a look at our other articles below to make sure your Cover Letter and CV are up to scratch:

 

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