Having interview questions to ask the interviewer, or panel, is another aspect of the job interview process you will need to ready for.
Your questions are quite important.
Why? Because they can give a strong indication about your real interest in applying for the position.
Most people admit to being unsure about what interview questions to ask. Or, they are fearful of asking questions which might blow their chances of getting the job.
Here we will explain where your questions fit into the job interview process, and list some interview questions you can, and should ask.
We will also look at the type of questions you should ideally avoid, and why it's a good idea not to ask them.
This depends to some extent on how the interviewer wants to conduct the interview.
Sometimes in a highly structured interview you will be instructed to defer any questions until the end of the interview.
In less formal interview situations the interviewer may, at the beginning of the interview, suggest that you ask questions at any stage.
One advantage of a more free-flowing interview is that will be likely you'll have the opportunity to ask questions that you hadn't previously thought about.
For example, during the interview there may be discussion taking place about some aspect of the job, or the work environment, about which you'd like more information or clarification. It will probably be easier for everyone if you ask your question then and there, rather than having to return to the topic at the end of the interview.
In summary, be guided by the interviewer about the best time to ask your questions.
Even in free flowing interviews it is likely that towards the end of the interview you'll be asked if you have any more questions.
One outcome could be that when that time comes you will have run out of questions to ask!
Don't panic if this occurs. Here are a couple of things you might try:
The important thing to convey in this situation is.......that you had in fact prepared some questions for the interviewer.
Your questions should be about the position and its challenges.
Seek to understand what the employer's priorities and needs are from the successful candidate.
Armed with this information there may be another opportunity for you to explain how you can meet that need, or tack that problem.
Remain focused on your role in the job interview process......to sell your capabilities in the 3 main areas the interviewer is likely to be exploring. These are:
Because these are the areas that the interviewer will use to decide the best candidate, use these broad areas as a guide when preparing your interview questions to ask.
Aim to ask questions that will give you more information about what the interviewer really wants or needs in each area.
Then, you can continue sell them on your suitability!
Remember - your questions can be very revealing about your true interest in the position. If your questions are all about salary and working conditions, you are in danger of creating the impression that this is your main interest in the position.
Therefore it is strongly suggested that you avoid questions which directed solely at the terms and conditions of your employment, such as:
The advice to avoid questions relating to salary and working conditions is based on a strategy whereby you concentrate on getting a job offer first - then negotiate salary and conditions of employment.
There is strong anecdotal evidence that the longer you delay salary and related issues the stronger your position will be in the negotiation process.
When applying for a new job it is natural that you will want to clarify your salary and other conditions of employment.
So.....when is the best time to do this? For reasons previously stated, the ideal situation will always be to let the employer or interviewer be the first to initiate the discussion.
In the job interview process the issue of salary can arise:
Use the 3 main areas that the interviewer is going to explore with their questions to design the questions you want to ask.
For example, in relation to the skills and knowledge they want in the successful applicant you typical interview questions to ask could be:
Typical interview questions you could ask that relate to what is being sought in relation to motivation and attitude towards the job include:
Interview questions to ask in relation to fit with the organisation and team include:
Before the interview concludes there are two very important pieces of information you need to have. These are:
You are entitled to know this information so that you can manage your role in the job interview process.
Without knowing what is to happen next and when you are completely in the dark. Most reputable organisations will attempt to keep you in the picture, but this doesn't always happen.
When you know the timing of the next steps you can follow up at an appropriate time if you haven't heard from the organisation.
And.....the best job interview advice I can give you is - yes, do follow up if you haven't heard.
At the same time don't make a pest of yourself when making contact. All you need to do is ask politely "During my recent interview with you, you indicated that successful candidates would be contacted. Seeing as I haven't heard from you I was wondering if you could clarify the status of my application for this position."
The job interview process is meant to be two way.
While your main objective is to make a positive impression, it is important that you also interviewing the organisation to determine if this is the right job and organisation for you.
This means having some questions to ask the interviewer.
In addition to finding out if this is the right opportunity for you, your questions should also contribute to creating the impression that you are very interested in this position and its challenges.