“So far so good” you think to yourself as you sit there in the middle of the meeting, with the interviewer opposite, or a panel of people firing questions towards you. Once they have asked their competency based and HR-related questions, you start to relax as you know you are near the end – phew !. It is at this point though someone turns and asks “do you have any questions before we finish”, and your mind goes blank as you didn’t know you would get an opportunity to ask anything. If only you had made some notes on paper beforehand to help you.
Hopefully, you will of researched the company, researched the people interviewing you and rehearsed some answers to generic questions time and time again before the meeting, but now it is your turn to ask the questions. Whilst it is a nice way for an interview to end, I have known people to go completely blank at this point, with a deafening silence entering the room. Just as you thought everything was going well, you don’t have a clue what to ask.
For a first interview, this probably isn’t the best situation to be in, as the interviewer is now expecting some detailed and well-thought out questions from you. It may be no more than to confirm your interest and understanding of the position they have talked to you about for an hour, your enthusiasm for the company or to find out more about the people sat in front of you. When I meet candidates myself and prepare them for a first interview, I always ensure they think about what questions to ask at the end.
Whilst this is not an exhaustive list, and I don’t believe it would be wise to real off a full page of questions, asking 4-5 relevant questions may well help solidify in the interviewers mind how appropriate you are for the role, and how your personality and cultural fit for the business may be more suitable than other candidates.
The last question below (Q10) is a must-ask in my opinion, and I tell everyone to make sure they ask it during an interview. Without asking this one question, you may leave the interview not knowing if you have explained yourself properly, or indeed if the interviewer(s) understood everything you were talking about. Once you have left the interview, it is then too late.
10 Questions to ask the Interviewer(s) during an interview:
1. What is the reason this vacancy has become available ?
2. How many people are employed in this office / site, and in the division / team I will be joining ?
3. What are the company’s future ambitions in the short and long term ?
4. How is the department structured currently, what are the backgrounds of the people I will be supervising.
5. What social activities does the company arrange throughout the year, in order to help build relationships ?
6. Will there be any UK or overseas travel required in the role ?
7. How long have you been working in the company, and what do you like about working here ?
8. How many people have you met so far for the position, and how do they compare to me ?
9. What are the next steps in the recruitment process ?
10. Is there anything I have talked about you would like further clarification on ?. I am very keen on the position, and want to leave the meeting knowing I have covered all the areas you wanted me to.