19 questions you should ask in an interview
First of all, there is something you need to be aware of: a job interview is not just an opportunity for the recruiter to learn more about you and find out whether you are suitable for the post. A job interview is also an opportunity for you to learn more about the responsibilities of the position, what prospects for career development it offers, who are the members of the team you would be working with are, etc. In short, it is a chance for you to make sure you will be happy at work.
At some point during the interview, there will be that awkward pause when the recruiter looks at you straight in the eyes, and asks, "Do you have any questions? ". It goes without saying that you need to have some already prepared when that moment comes. Use the list provided here to ensure you have the basis covered and to prevent yourself from drying up at the most critical moment of the interview!
Do be aware, however, that this list is meant to be used as a source of questions to ask if, and only if, the recruiter has not already covered the particular topic in the course of the interview. Do not ask them all, or you run the risk of coming across as too intrusive and making the recruiter feel as if they are being interrogated.
First and foremost, you need to make completely sure you are familiar with what the job involves and what daily tasks you will be responsible for, both when initially taking up the post and further down the line.
- What personal qualities do you consider necessary in order to perform the duties of the post to a high standard?
- What skills are lacking in the current team?
- What would be the greatest challenge the person selected for this job?
- Is this a newly created position?
Training and skills development
Always try to place each job you apply for in the context of your future career. What would you gain form this job that you would not in the others ?
- What does the initial training involve ?
- Will there be opportunities for promotion to other roles in the company, or for the responsibilities of the post to evolve? (This question is only to be asked when applying for a paid post rather than an internship)
In order to achieve success in any job, you need to have a good understanding of both the objectives involved and how you will be evaluated.
- What are the main stages you would like the person recruited to have passed through by the end of the first, second and third months in the position?
- What objectives need to be achieved by the end of the first six months?
- How does the evaluation process work?
- What factors will be taken into account when assessing my performance?
It is not just your manager or your department that you work for: it is first and foremost the company itself. So you need to have an understanding of the strategy as broad as possible.
- I have researched how the company was founded, but could you tell me a little more about … ? (This is only a valid question to ask if you have not been able to find the information by yourself, either through the company's website or the press)
- In general terms, what are the company's current objectives and how does the team I would be working with contribute to that?
The people you will be working with five days a week for the coming months or years will have a considerable influence on your work life. Try to imagine yourself already in that situation so that you can get an idea of how well you could fit in.
- Could you tell me a little bit more about the team I would be working with? What is the working atmosphere like?
- Who would be my manager and what responsibilities does he/she have?
The company culture
Is the atmosphere more suit-and-tie or table-football-at-lunch? Is it smart dress or jeans and trainers? You may think dress codes and such are unimportant, but they are absolutely crucial to your successful integration. By being observant during your initial interview, you can get a very good idea about dress codes and such. However, here are some questions you can use to broach the subject.
- How would you describe the working atmosphere? Is it more about teamworking or working independently?
- Do you organise team-building activities?
The next steps
Before leaving the interview, make sure you have all the information you need for the next stage of the recruitment process. This will avoid you getting desperate a week later when you still haven’t heard from the recruiter, unaware that he does not intend to contact you until the following week.
- What are the next steps in the recruitment process?
- Is there anything else you would like me to clarify about my career so far or my professional experience?
Written by JobTeaser