A job interview is both yours and the employers chance to find out if you’re suitable for the role. This means that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask your own questions. But what type of question is appropriate, why should you ask them, and at what time should you ask?
You’re interested in the job!
Asking questions achieves two things. Firstly, it shows the employer that you are taking a keen interest in the role and the company. Both of these things should be important to you if you really do want to work their. The employer will always be impressed when a candidate asks questions, and it will go a long way to making a memorable impression.
Secondly, you should be asking questions to find out if you are suitable for the role. You need to be ready for a job offer and have the right information to make an informed decision. After the interview you may feel this isn’t right for you, which means you don’t need to wait for a decision. Or, you may find that the answers given to your questions further establish your interest.
As for the timing of your questions, we will indicate that below for each example. Read on to find out which 4 questions we recommend you should ask at a job interview.
1. Can you tell me more about the specifics of the role?
Although the job advert may have laid out a few of the main tasks and responsibilities, it’s important that you find out even more. Take in a pen and notepad so you can jot down all your questions and subsequent answers. This will look professional and further demonstrate your interest in the role.
The interviewer may already provide you with more of an insight, so this question is only a failsafe in case they don’t. Some employers like to go into detail about what’s required within the role, but not always. This is your chance to find out more so you can consider if this is really what you want to do.
Ask this question during the interview rather than at the end (unless you have to). Wait for the right moment when the manager is discussing aspects of the role. It could be quite a lengthy conversation so you need to be careful not to interrupt the flow of the interview. But done at the right time will impress the employer and show exactly why you are there – you want the job!
2. Can you tell me more about the team I would be working with?
Taking an interest in the team will show the interviewer that you are a team player. Most job seekers focus upon themselves in the interview, and for obvious reasons. But also taking an interest in others and who you may be working with shows you like to think outside the box.
You can be more specific with this question to help the employer provide a better answer. Here are a few examples:
- Who would I be working with?
- How many people are there in the team?
- What type of interaction would I have with the team?
- How does the team work together to achieve their goals?
These are all great questions and are sure to impress. As for when to ask these questions, you could consider this subject for the end of the interview. You can of course raise this during the interview if you feel the timing is right. But it would certainly save until the end also.
3. Can you describe the working culture of the company?
This is a great question to ask because it’s quite forward thinking. You are clearly already seeing yourself in the position and it will force the employer to do the same.
Most employers like to talk about the company’s culture because this tends to be the fun side of work. For instance, monthly nights out, social events, team building exercises, training, conventions, monthly awards and prizes – these are all examples of what to expect. The employer will enjoy discussing anything they organise themselves and it will create a positive vibe for the interview.
It will also give you the chance to see if this is the right company for you. Your love for a good party may sit well with the company, or maybe they don’t do anything and you find that working there could be boring. It could be that you don’t like working for company’s that like to party every weekend and you’d rather find something more suitable for your personality. Whichever it may be, this is a great opportunity to see if they are the right fit for you.
4. What would you expect of me within the first 3-6 months?
Some companies have a probationary period that you would need to pass through, so finding out the specifics of this will help your decision. Training and support is important for any new employee, so see what they have to offer.
The manager may shrug at this question and give off a vibe of ‘do what you like’. At this point you may feel like the support you’d need could be missing. However, most of the time you will find that a company has a specific training programme and support on offer for the first few months. Does this training seem adequate? Do you feel that you will have every opportunity to succeed in the role?
Again, this question is designed to help you find out if you would be happy working for the company and have all the tools and support to thrive. It also ensures the employer remains convinced of your high interest in the role.
The manager may discuss the training and probationary period during the interview, in which you can then make notes and ask any further questions about the specifics. This is also another great question to ask at the end. Don’t forget that you should leave at least one question until the end as you are usually ask if you have any. You want to leave the interview on a positive and inquisitive note.