You’ve got the interview. Well done! You feel like you’ve aced all the questions and you’ve got a good rapport with the interviewer. Then without warning, the interviewer asks, “And do you have any questions for us today?”, and your mind goes blank. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. The great thing is, you can prepare for this before you get to the interview, with our handy guide to the best questions to ask.
1. What’s the benefits package like?
It’s absolutely fine to query what perks this position will carry with it. The interviewer knows that you will be applying for more than one position, and they want you to choose their company over anyone else’s. It gives the interviewer a chance to sell their company to you, and of course, gives you vital information when you come to decide whether to accept the position or not. You won’t iron out details at this stage, but a general feel for how the company looks after its staff is essential.
2. What are your company’s core values?
You’ll no doubt have done some research on the company and position you’re applying for, but a company’s core values are often not in the job description. Allowing the interviewer to talk about the ethics and values of the company lets you get a sense of whether you will fit in, and whether your own values mesh with those of the company you’re applying for. Make a note of anything that stands out as a real positive, or anything that doesn’t feel quite right.
3. Where do you see this company in five years’ time?
The mid-to-long-term goals of a company can be really important, particularly if you’re approaching a managerial or operational position. You want to know that the company has a vision that it’s working towards. Asking this question shows your interviewer that you’re taking this potential position seriously, and it gives you a chance to make sure that the position you are going for is taking your career path in the way you truly want to go.
4. What’s your favorite thing about working for this company?
This is a great question as it not only shows an interest in the company but also that you’ve taken a personal interest in the interviewer. It’s human nature to be pleased when people take an interest in us, so even experienced interviewers will be happy to talk about their own experiences. Make a note of any areas the interviewer avoids mentioning. If there’s an aspect of the company or role that the interviewer doesn’t like, they’ll avoid bringing it up for fear of appearing negative.
5. What are the opportunities for progression in this role or department?
Depending on the position you’ve applied for, it’s normal to expect that in time, you would be able to progress or develop your role and skills. Asking about the potential for this lets the interviewer know you’re potentially in it for the long haul, and that you’re looking for a career, rather than a job. It gives you a chance to understand what path your career might take if you joined this company. Make a note of anything the interviewer speaks excitedly about. These could be real positive points of the job that you simply won’t have seen in the job description.
6. What challenges are facing the company at the moment?
This isn’t a negative question to ask. The chances are, you’re being recruited to either fill a position that’s been emptied, or one that’s been created to solve a problem. Or the company is expanding, which brings new challenges every day. Business is all about challenge and opportunities, and asking about what’s on the current agenda might even give you a further chance to talk about your own skills and achievements some more.
7. What are the next steps in the recruitment process?
Make sure you find out what happens next before you leave the interview. It’s easy to get caught up in discussions about the company, your potential role and responsibilities, and the sense of excitement a new job can bring. Make sure you know what the next steps are for you when you leave, whether that’s to wait a set amount of days for a phone call, to wait for an email or to contact your agency. Knowing what happens next removes some of the anxiety of the interview process, and helps you put it to one side while you concentrate on any other interviews you might have lined up.