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“Do you have any questions for us?” for the unprepared, those seven words can be nerve-wracking. At Prime Appointments, we’re often asked “what questions should I ask during an interview?” Many of our candidates are often wary of asking too direct questions about the company or the role, but this is a mistake. In our 26 years’ recruitment experience, we’ve found that the candidates who choose the right questions at this stage are often the ones who leave the best impression. Choosing the right questions to ask during an interview shows that you’ve done your research into the company and taken a real interest in their business. More importantly, it’s a good way for you to find out more about the company you could potentially be working at.
All in all, deciding which questions to ask during an interview is a key stage of your interview preparation. Last week, we covered how to make sure you ace the main body of the interview with our5 essential interview tips. To make sure you maximise the “do you have any questions” stage, here are 10 of our best questions to ask during an interview:
1. How do you measure and review performance?
Show them you’re not afraid to have your performance held up to the spotlight and you’ll gain some serious credibility points! Whether it’s the managing director or a human resources officer who’s interviewing you, it’s their job to find people who will make more money for the business. Show them you’re on the same page and you’ll be sure to make a stellar impression.
2. How did your latest product launch/project go?
To show you’re serious about working for their company, swot up on their latest news by checking out their website. Our Senior Lead Recruiter Suzanne has been placing people in roles across HR, admin, sales, insurance and more for over 16 years and cannot stress the value of showing your research enough! “Show some interest by asking how their latest project went, or asking questions specific to their industry. You could even ask how their latest fundraising events went, to be a bit more informal. It’s always better to be under than over-prepared!”
3. What are the opportunities for promotion/training?
How do employers know if you’re in it for the long-run? If you’re interested in progressing. It may feel like you’re getting ahead of yourself – they haven’t even given you the job yet! But if you show you have a real interest in building on your skills that will show that you’re in it to win it. Just make sure this question is appropriate for the specific interviewer you’re dealing with, and the type of company you’re at. If it’s a smaller company, they may not have the funds to train you. If it’s a bigger organisation, you have more leeway. Use your judgement!
4. How would you describe the culture of the organisation here?
This one is more for you than for them. Their answer will give you a chance to find out just what it would be like to work for them and how much you’d enjoy the experience. Are they a quiet, heads-down type of office? Or do they have more of a work hard-play hard culture? Which of the two would you prefer? If you are offered the role, you’ll be spending the majority of your waking hours with these people so you need to know if you’ll get along!
5. What do you like most about working here?
Want to put someone in a good mood? Give them a chance to talk about themselves. It will also give you a chance to collect your thoughts and take the spotlight off you for a minute. Listen carefully for what parts of their job they talk about the most – this will give you an idea of the type of work and values that are most important to their business.
6. What are the company’s plans for the future?
If you feel like the previous question is a bit too personal, keep it general with a question about what direction the company is taking. This will still give your interviewer the chance to get excited about their company and will also allow you to collect valuable information. If you’re quick on your feet, you could also try thinking of how you specifically would be able to help them get there. Either way, make sure you show that you share the company’s vision.
7. What’s the team structure?
Finding out how many other people work in ‘your’ team and what their roles are is a great way to establish the level of responsibility you’ll have. It goes without saying that you won’t want to ask “what’s the pecking order?” in so many words, but feeling out your team structure will, essentially, tell you the answer to this question.
8. What do you think are the 2 most important issues your company will face in the next 5 years?
Do some research before you ask this question, so that you can have a couple of opinions on the topic yourself. You want to go in feeling like an expert on their industry! Even if you’re just going for an entry-level role, you should have a clear outline of the types of issues affecting their business. Do a quick Google search or speak to friends and family who work in that sector, to gain an idea of the current landscape. Be confident in your opinions without being a know-it-all and the interviewer will be impressed.
9. Has this position become available due to growth on the team, or expansion?
Has this been done before or not? Obviously don’t put it quite like that, but this is the gist of what you’re asking! You want to know whether the company is expanding or if they’re filling a role someone has moved out of. This will give you a clearer picture of what you’re getting into. If it’s an old role, your objective will be to do a better job than the person before you. If it’s a new one, you can make it your own! Either way, it’s good to be in the know.
10. What would my responsibilities be, on a day-to-day basis?
A job description will only tell you so much. Your list of expectations will outline the role you are eventually expected to fill, but not what the daily grind will actually entail. To get an idea of what you’ll be doing day in and day out, just ask! If you’re a quick thinker, you can then come up with even more specific examples of how you’d be great for the role. Unless, of course, it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, in which case – keep looking!