First things firsts, and I cannot reiterate this point strongly enough, never forget to have a list of questions that you want to ask an interviewer. This is so vitally important.
There have been numerous occasions over the years that when I’ve turned to an interviewee to ask them, ‘Do you have any questions for me? the response I’ve got back is one of the following:
‘No, you’ve answered everything I wanted to know’
‘No, I don’t think so’
Having no questions to ask never goes down particularly well. I will admit that I’ve done it too in the past and I know from feedback it’s not a good move and didn’t help stand me out amongst other candidates.
Related: Questions to Ask at a Job Interview
Why the answer should never be NO?
No, is never the right answer. I remember one interviewer saying to me years ago, when I asked for feedback as to why I didn’t get a role that, ‘How can you know everything, because saying no either implies you know it all or you just don’t care about the role at my company’. It was good advice and since then I’ve always had questions to ask an interviewer.
The questions to ask
So what are the questions that you can use in your next interview, here are five to get you started.
1. It’s not all about you
This is number one because, in my opinion, it is the most important question to ask an interview, ‘Tell me about you.’
People love talking about themselves. Dale Carnegie in his infamous book ‘How to win friends and influence people’ demonstrated that if you ask questions and listen, people will think that you’re a fantastic conversationalist.
Very few interviewees ask an interviewer about themselves. So why should you ask this question. It shows that you’re interested in them as an individual beyond the confines of this interview. It shows that you want to get to know more about them, their background. You’ll gleam from it information about the interviewer and the overall organization that you probably won’t have got from the main part of the interview.
2. Why they work here?
This may sound like a very direct question but it’s an important one to ask, ‘Why do you work here?’ You’ll learn from asking this question what makes them want to work for this organization and what the key characteristics that they like. Is it the:
Products and services?
Again this demonstrates a broader interest in them as a person and to the wider organization. It’ll unearth points that again you’ve not uncovered in the main part of the interview.
3. The Challenges Faced
Ask the interviewer what the challenges are that the organization faces in the next 12, 24, 36 months. This shows that you are forward thinking and want to learn in greater detail what their future challenges are. Should it be appropriate you can then highlight what you’ve done in your experience that could help them with those challenges.
4. The Success Factor
Ask the interviewer ‘What will be the key success factors for the person who will be recruited for this role?’ Whilst the job description may detail the qualities and what is required of the right candidate, they do not always detail what the key success factors are. Again this is a useful question to highlight any experience that you can demonstrate from previous roles to match.
5. Ask for Feedback
Now this is a tricky one, but one that I highly recommend. Ask the interviewer for feedback on yourself and if there are any questions they have about your suitability for the role. You’ll unearth any doubts they may have so that you can try and overcome them there and then.
Remember an interview is two way process. It isn’t just about your suitability for the role, but also whether it is the right role and company for you. And you can only do that by asking questions. Remember to go prepared to your next interview!
PS. There’s sixth question and that is you must not forget is to close the interview by asking ‘What is next and have you done enough to get through to the next stage?’ Very few people ask it.
photo by: pressebox