Interviews are always anxiety-inducing. No matter how many you sit through or how confident you are you’re the right person for the job, sitting in front of a panel and articulately answering their questions causes a few butterflies!
We often spend quite a bit of time preparing ourselves for the questions we think we’ll be asked. We research the company, practice common questions, and we might even ask a friend or parent to give us a mock and a pep talk.
But there’s one question that usually gets forgotten. It might not seem that important, but preparing for it and answering it well can make a HUGE difference!
Do You Have Any Questions For Us?
Yup. That’s the one. Surprised? Lots of people are! But employers regularly tell us they’re disappointed when it gets to the end of the interview, and candidates don’t have anything they want to ask or know about the company, the team or the role they might be stepping into.
This is the perfect opportunity to engage with the panel, gain some insights into the role you want and demonstrate a number of things about you, including:
- You’ve done your research.
- You want to know more about the potential manager/colleagues/workplace.
- You’re interested in what the day to day of the role looks like.
- You’re curious about what’s on the horizon for the role and company in general.
- You want to know what to expect next.
Your questions don’t have to be completely formal, and it’s okay to mix it up a bit, but you definitely need to ask something.
What Questions Should You Ask?
The questions you ask need to be a mix of demonstrating you’re engaged with the role and the company. Here are five of our favourite examples:
What have been some of the team’s successes I’d be working with this year?
This question demonstrates that you’re interested in the team environment you’ll be stepping into and indicates to the employers that you’re team focused. It also helps you better understand how success and goals are viewed and measured by the company.
What would you say are some of the challenges in this role?
This question demonstrates you understand that not every opportunity is golden, and you’re happy to turn focus and discussions towards problem-solving. Depending on the answer, it also gives you the chance to learn more about the type of work environment you’ll be stepping into, which can help you decide whether this is the right job for you.
Why has the role become available?
This can help you determine if the role is new – in which case, there could be follow-up questions about how it will be managed and how success will be measured. If it’s because someone is leaving, then you can find out a bit more about what they’ve been working on and what your immediate priorities might be.
Finding out that a role has been vacant for a long time or has had a few previous individuals cycle through it is a big red flag for what the company culture might be like—vital information to know.
What’s the management structure like across the organisation?
If you’re deeply curious about progression, this is a better question to ask to help build a picture of what the company looks like at a managerial level. It’s always good to know if there are different layers you could move up into. It also helps you understand who you would be reporting to and how the role you’re applying to sits within the bigger company structure.
What does my initial training look like if I’m offered the position?
If this is a brand new opportunity for you and a new industry, it’s great to get some knowledge around how you’ll be supported as a new employee. Asking this question also demonstrates that you’re switched on, willing to learn new things, and focused on doing a good job.
Some extra tips for getting these questions right:
- Follow up on anything from the job ad you’d like clarity on — did they mention travel? Support with additional qualifications? Is it part-time or full time? Now is the time to ask!.
- Make sure you ask open-ended questions — what, when, who, where and how. Keep your questions open-ended so you can have a conversation.
- Refer back to questions you’ve been asked and/or something referenced in the interview. If there’s space, ask questions about this at the time they come up. If there isn’t, make a little note and come back to it at the end.
- Do ask them ‘what are the next steps’!. Ensure you know what to expect, so you aren’t left in limbo and can follow up at the appropriate time.
Instead of feeling tongue-tied and stumped by this question, you need to reframe it as the perfect opportunity it is!
This question is your chance to uncover if this is the right job for you, but it’s also how you can demonstrate that you do the work, you’re switched on and engaged in what the company is doing and the opportunity at hand.
Which we know first-hand is guaranteed to impress any employer!
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