What many interviewees forget is that the job interview is a two-way process. During the job interview you need to take charge and as well as delivering well structured interview answers, you need to, at relevant times, ask the employer questions to help you decide if the organisation is a good fit for you.
Asking the employer questions also helps to create rapport, shows your confidence and interest and allows the interview to have more of a flow. The big question is, what to ask? Below is a list of questions that you can ask during the job interview, or at the end of the interview when the employer asks that common interview question, “do you have any questions to ask me?”
WARNING: Questions should not be randomly asked, you need to wait for the perfect opportunity, only asking questions that are relevant to the current topic, as this will create a good relationship between you and the job interviewer.
1. You recently won a new contract with X, do you have any plans to bid for any future contracts or are you planning to enter any new sectors?
This questions shows that you have researched the company and highlights that you have an interest in the growth of the organisation.
2. What are the biggest challenges your employees face?
Asking about challenges shows that you are not afraid of a challenge. It is always good to back this question up, by stating how you positively overcome a similar challenge to the one the employer states.
3. It sounds as though you have had a really successful year, what do you think was the secret of your success?
This question demonstrates that you are not taking generalisations and that you are interested in the nitty gritty. You will find that the employer will mention polices, management styles, company ethos; whatever the manager states you can come back with a reason why this is important to a successful company (a little praise never hurt anyone’s job interview)
4. What development opportunities do you offer your employees?
This is a key question to ask, as you want to work with an organisation that develops and supports their staff, especially as many sectors are changing rapidly due to technological advances.
5. Do you encourage internal promotions?
Asking questions around promotions shows your commitment to working for their company. This is key in recruitment as many organisations spend a third of their profit on recruitment. You can also frame the question to show your loyalty "Once I take a position in a company and generally stay a long period of time, the only reason I am looking for a new position now is due to forthcoming redundancies. As a loyal worker, do you practice internal promotions?"
6. I like how you have an interest in supporting your staff, does this increase staff loyalty? What is the retention of your workforce?
Another key question to ask. If employees tend to leave within a short period of time, then I would ask more questions to uncover the reason why but you make the choice to accept the role or not.
7. You seem to be very successful, how do you measure performance on a team or individual level?
By asking questions on performance or targets, tells the employer that you understand the importance of achieving results, and shows that you are aware of goals at the different levels of the organisation.
8. It is really good to hear that you have won a new contract, what do foresee as the potential pitfalls and what is the company putting in place to overcome these?
This question praises the employer which helps build rapport and also shows your analytical ability and solution focus approach. You can follow this question with your own ideas, as employers will love to hear your solution to their problems.
9. If you recruited me and we worked really well together what would we be doing in 12 months time?
This question first gets the employer to imagine you working together and also gets them to think about the positive outcome from hiring you.
10. If you could go back 12 months what would you do differently?
This question ask the employer to reflect, something that they might not of done. When they answer with the way they would have improved the business you can back this up by saying "I agree, when you discussed X project I was thinking about using a similar method, the benefits are A, B and C".
Sometimes when asked "do you have any questions for me" your mind goes blank, in this situation revert back to the question based on flattery, "I did have several questions prepared but I think you have covered them all in the interview".
The interview as a whole is to influence the interview so when the employer comes to the decision process they only have one choice, to employ you. Use the above to highlight your skills, knowledge, ideas and experience. Don’t simply ask an irrelevant question - turn your questions into another away to build rapport, create intrigue and shine above all others, by highlighting your unique selling point.
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Chris Delaney is an Interview Coach at www.employmentking.co.uk and the Author of the The 73 Rules for Influencing the Interview using Psychology, NLP and Hypnotic Persuasion Techniques.