Interviews are for answering questions, not asking them, right? Wrong. We’ve cobbled together a list of killer interview questions to ask employers that will have them begging you not to leave the building – and some to avoid at all costs.
An interview might feel like you’re giving evidence on the witness stand with one hand on your good luck charm and the other on your full-to-bursting record of achievements, but a big part of proving that you’re worth a unanimous positive verdict from the jury – er, interviewers – is turning the interrogation back on them, by asking a few choice questions yourself.
A lack of curiosity sends out a multitude of warning signals. It either sounds as if you assume that you already know all there is to know about the company (you don’t), or worse, that you’re not bothered about putting much thought into the the framework of the next chapter of your life and the majority of your waking hours.
So when you find out you’ve got an interview, it’s time to high-five a parent or pet, blow the cobwebs off your thinking cap, and put pen to paper. Our challenge to you: don’t leave the interview room without having asked at least five jolly good chin-scratchers. Here’s some inspiration for starters – after which the gauntlet is thrown in the direction of your grey matter which, let’s face it, is probably itching for a good old flex.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS TO ASK EMPLOYERS: COMPULSORY
“What are the top three qualities you’d expect to find in the perfect candidate?”
Job descriptions can be discombobulatingly long-winded. This is your chance to distill the quintessential from the waffle and get to the crux of the matter.
“Are there any opportunities for professional training and development, or earning qualifications?”
You’re an earnest self-improver. Nice move, Sherlock.
“Describe a typical day working at [XXX company].”
This is less of an “oooh, look how cunning I am” question and more of a functional yardstick for you to judge whether the company’s working style suits your working style. Also good to gauge (subtly) whether overtime is expected.
“Do you have any remaining concerns about whether I’m right for the role? I’d love the chance to convince you otherwise.”
This is a double-whammy of interrogational brilliance, because you are A) showing that you’re courageously open to constructive criticism and B) giving yourself a final chance to allay their concerns.
“So, how soon can I start?”
Bolshy is as bolshy does. You need to leave the impression that you really, REALLY want the damn job. Only if you actually do, of course.
“When can I expect to hear from you?”
If you’re not feeling brazen enough to burst forth with the above question, this is another way to emphasise that you’re keen as a green bean.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS TO ASK EMPLOYERS: PICK AND MIX
“How would you describe your company culture?”
“What do you like about working here?”
“If you could change something about working here, what would it be?”
“Could you give me an example of a project I’d be working on?”
“I’m impressed by your company’s work on [FRUITS OF YOUR PRIOR RESEARCH]. Please tell me more about [ASPECT THAT YOU SUSPECT MIGHT BE RELEVANT TO THE VACANCY].”
“What opportunities are there for progression within the company?”
“What’s the leadership/managerial structure like?”
“What’s your internal communication style? Face-to-face meetings or mostly email?”
“What would success look like in this role?”
“Are there any opportunities for travel?”
“Is this a new position? If not, could you tell me how the role developed for the previous employee?”
QUESTIONS TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS
“So, what does your company do exactly?”
No excuses; you should have a pretty good idea of this well in advance of the interview. Google is your friend. However, it’s fine to ask questions to fill in any gaps that are left after you’ve done your research.
“What about holidays and time off?”
With most jobs, it’s likely that you’ll be expected not to take holiday for around three months or the duration of your probation period. They might ask if you have any upcoming holidays that are already booked; if they don’t, it’s best to keep schtum until such time as the topic of job offer crops up.
“Now, about the salary…”
Yes, we know, money makes the world go round. The employer probably wants to pay as little as they can get away with, and you want to make as much as you possibly can. But again, these negotiations are to be had at offer stage, not before.
Reckon you’re armed and ready to dazzle an employer with your killer interview questions? What ho, we’ve got jobs a plenty.
Other advice to help you get to interview stage:
By Corissa Nunn, European Development at Enternships