6 key questions to ask during interviews

woman looking for recruitment firm

An interview is a two-way street. It’s your chance to establish whether joining a particular company will benefit your career, and ultimately, whether there is a suitable fit between the company and you.

Leslie Zabal, Senior Consultant at Robert Walters Philippines, notes, “Asking questions reveals your interest in the company. If you don’t ask any questions, hiring managers may think you’re overly confident about the discussion, you’re not that keen about the opportunity, or worse, you didn’t understand what was being asked.”

“Asking relevant questions will allow you to gain more perspective about the hiring company; its culture, structure, plans, and growth outlook. These insights can help you better assess whether the opportunity is the right fit for your personal and career goals,” Leslie adds.

For these reasons, it's important you ask your interviewer questions to gauge what the role will entail, and whether it is the right fit for you. But do watch out for questions that are irrelevant and questions that might lead you to wrongly create an impression of being unprepared. Leslie reminds candidates, “For job interviews with the direct hiring managers, never, for example, ask what the company does. It’s your responsibility to come prepared by doing your own research.”

Below is a selection of questions we would suggest asking at your next job interview.

1. Why has this position become available?

It’s important for you to know why this position is open - is it because someone left the role, or is it newly created? If so, why was it created? This will help inform you about the management and growth expectations of the company.

Leslie advises, “Make sure you ask what are the hiring manager’s expectations of his chosen candidate. Ask as well what are the upcoming plans and projects that you and your team will be handling. This will allow you to better understand the role, and identify any immediate or hidden pressure points that you will have to face on the job. At the same time, you can highlight and relate your own skills and experience to what the hiring manager has mentioned about the position.”

2. What do you like about working for this company?

Gaining insights from someone that is already part of the company will help you find out more about whether the company’s cultural fit is what you are looking for. You would also have a better gauge of the team that you’ll be working with, and the dynamics within the company.

“Learn more about the company’s culture, structure, and opportunities for growth if you do join them. Based on the interviewer’s response, you could then showcase your ‘whys’ to the hiring manager. For example, after learning that the hiring company places a heavy emphasis on new technologies and innovation, you can express that part of your personal and career goals is to be up to date with industry trends. Align your personal and professional direction with the hiring organisation’s own culture, structure, and business plans,” Leslie says.

3. What are the benchmarks for judging my suitability for the role?

This information is useful to know as each business operates differently. The answer will show you what approach the company takes with its employees, and is useful for you to think about when considering whether such an approach suits you personally.

Furthermore, asking the interviewer questions about the role shows again that you are engaged and interested in the company, and at the same time, demonstrates your ability to show initiative.

4. What can I expect in terms of development and support?

Asking this question reflects that you are keen on growing, learning, and staying with the company. It also allows you to find out whether the role offers what you are looking for in the long-term.

Leslie recommends to also clarify the plans and activities companies may have. “From there, you can gauge how you can attain new skills and grow organically. Sometimes, growth opportunities are not readily available but they would come about instead as a result of your own initiatives,” Leslie highlights.

5. Where does the job fit into the team structure?

Not only does this question provide you with the chance to see how you can progress within the team , it also provides you with an opportunity to better understand the team that you will be a part of and who will be your major stakeholders. Asking this question also demonstrates that you understand the importance of working within a team, which will put you in a good light.

6. What is the next step after the interview?

Although this question is often forgotten, asking this is vital for any candidate. It shows the interviewer that you have thought about the next stages, and provides you with an indication on whether you need to prepare more for subsequent interview rounds.

“Ask about the hiring timeline; how soon is the new hire needed to be on board? This would help you set your own expectations about the entire interview process,” Leslie says.

Leslie also adds, “If you have missed out on asking this question, do a follow-up after the interview. If you’re in direct contact with the interviewer, ask what will be the focus of the next discussion. If you’re working with a professional recruiter, get in touch and find out how did you perform during your previous interview. Seek to know the date of the next interview, what will be the scope of the discussion, and what will the next interviewer(s) be like. This information will help you refine your interviewing skills and prepare for the next interview.”

 

The job interview is not just about seeing whether you are the right fit for the organisation. It’s also about making sure you feel confident about your ability to do the job, and in turn, making sure you feel the role would be a successful subsequent career move.

Given the current COVID-19 situation, you can also tailor your questions to how the hiring company has tackled the crisis. “The current pandemic presents an opportunity for candidates to find out how organisations have coped with or adjusted to an unforeseen situation. Seek insights on measures they have done for both the business and employees – it can give you a better picture of what the company culture and values are.” Leslie notes.

For more expert tips to excel in your next job interview, read our complete interview guide and six top tips for successful video interviews. Partner us to start your job search today.

 

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