Now it’s your turn to ask the questions

“Any questions for us?”

Interviews are hard to predict, we all know that. No matter how much experience you have in the interview room or how many hours of prep you do; it is impossible to prepare for every eventuality. But there is one thing you can be sure of… you will always be given an opportunity to ask questions at the end. (Unless it’s gone awfully… in which case, just get out of there and move onto the next!)

As someone that has been on both sides of the interview room I can attest to this being one of the most important parts of any interview. No, this isn’t ground breaking. But, I’ve seen interviews take a turn for better and for worse after hearing their questions. This is a section of the interview to prepare for like any other, and maybe even that little bit more.

The reins are handed over and you are in control; make sure you make it work in your favour.

Having just spent the last hour or so answering questions about your motivations, interests, and skills you’ll be in a bit of a haze trying to figure out how well you’ve done (top tip, try not to do this.) You’ll have been selling yourself and now it’s time to cement everything you’ve said with a smash-it-out-the-park question to them!

Make sure the first question you ask is on-message.

Really think about how the questions and the order in which you ask them you ask will give your prospective employer a window into how your brain works…

It’s all in the phrasing

Instead of, “what training is provided?” why not expand the question to add a bit of context, for example:

“In my current role I don’t feel as though my professional development has been supported and I think I would have benefited from some initial and ongoing training, is this something you provide?”

This way you are explaining why you are looking elsewhere (this isn’t always a question asked in an interview so it’s a great way to slip it into the conversation) and it shows that you have really thought about your career progression and understand what you need from an employer. Any good employer will be keen to hear this!

A classic, reimagined

You may have been told to never ask about the working hours because it gives the impression that you will be a clock watcher… and yes it would give that impression if you just asked “what are the working hours?” but what if you said “what is your policy on flexible working options?”. Immediately you are going straight to the heart of the company policies, you’re not just asking about your specific job role AND you’re asking about the options – not just demanding to know what your contract might say.

More ideas…

  • If I were to secure this opportunity, has the first 6 months been mapped out? What would I be doing?
  • How do you see this role progressing within the next 2 years?
  • Are there any examples of current employees who joined at my level and moved up within the organisation?
  • Do you host company events and what for?
  • What do you do for Corporate Social Responsibility?
  • Are there any new ventures the company is looking to expand or move into new in the future?   

Finally…

Whatever questions you choose to ask in the final section of the interview, make sure your choice has a lasting impact. You must show meaningful interest in the company, demonstrate interest in your personal and professional development and ask interesting questions to encourage constructive discussion.

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