The Right Questions – What to ask at an Interview?

The Right Questions

So the interview is coming to a close. The interviewer asks you “Do you have any questions?” and in your eagerness for it to be over and done with, you reply with a quick “No,” and just like that, the interview is over. – If this is you, or this is a situation you have been in before, you are missing out on one of THE best opportunities to not only sell yourself, but to also learn a great deal about your potential employer. I would encourage you to not submit to a passive approach to interviews and, chances are, the candidates that can’t highlight their enthusiasm, keenness and genuine interest in the business and the vacant position, via asking a number of questions, will end up disappointed when they receive interview feedback. A number of simple but, effective questions, can work wonders in giving the right perception to the employer.

Generally speaking, there are quite a few effective questions that can be asked at the last stage of the interview. Obviously, you should be given an opportunity to ask these during the latter stage and, if you aren’t, you must seek the confidence to ask regardless. Either way, when this time comes, you must be prepared. Having your questions written down on a notebook or the like is great way of making sure you ask everything you want to, whilst having the ability to note answers down too. You don’t have to do it this way but, I believe this method is the most effective. War and peace really is not needed here and what you are looking to achieve can be done so in just a few of the right questions.

Below are a list of example questions that you may want to use yourself. Clearly, you can add your own, or change the examples we have given you. However, one thing is certain, you must ask at least a number of them, to highlight your interest and to gain some insights for your own peace of mind. On this note however, make sure you do not ask questions that you should really know already. Questions about what the organisation does, or about their products etc, will work only to damage the interviewers’ opinion of you. Relevant questions are as follows:

  • Is this a new position?
  • Who would I be responsible to?
  • How many other people do a similar job?
  • When will I know the result of this interview?
  • What opportunities are there for progression or further training?
  • Do you have time to show me around the area where I could be working?
  • Is there anything else that I can tell you about my experience or background?
  • Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities?
  • What are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?
  • What do you like best about working for this company?
  • Describe the culture

Without leaving you with an exhausting list of questions, a selection of the above (or all if you feel inclined,) is a good first step in making sure you have grasped the opportunity to learn valuable information about the given organisation and the vacant position. You can find a range of questions online that may be more suited to specific or specialised roles. But before you move forward in prepping your questions, do not forget the most important of all…

Did I answer all your questions fully?

This gives the interviewer a chance to go back over anything that you may have not answered to the full extent in the first instance. Providing the employer with another chance to learn more about yourself will be appreciated, whilst providing you with a second shot at answering the question more effectively.

Whatever you do, make sure you don’t waste this time by enquiring about pay, benefits and the like. Obviously, this is important, but it may well be energy wasted if it turns out that the employer isn’t interested in you anyway. At this point, discussing things such as these is trivial. That is, until you know they are interested in you too.

As a quick sign off, try and stay away from closed, yes or no, questions. Neither will you learn much from these, nor give your interviewer any real opportunity to speak openly. Don’t make them too difficult either, as you want to avoid stumping the interviewer. You aren’t trying to outsmart them, you are trying to develop rapport.

Remember, this is a 2-way street. You can show a great deal of character and skill by asking the right questions at the right time. Additionally, if you have the confidence, don’t forget to ask for a look around. It will help you to picture the environment and, help the employer realise your keenness. Keep your eyes peeled for more interview tips moving forward…