An all too often forgotten fact is that an interview is a two-way street in which the interviewer is more than likely to be just as nervous as you. This would be for a variety of reasons but none more so than the importance of selecting the right candidate for the job. Confidence is a key tool you can use when convincing the interviewer that you are that ideal candidate and perfect fit for the job.
An easy way of displaying this confidence is by asking the interviewer(s) questions, when prompted to do so. By asking questions you show that you are prepared and bright, however you must ensure that you are asking the right questions to give the right impression.
So often, candidates remain silent when given this opportunity, “There are all the questions we have for you today, are there any questions you would like us to answer?” To remain silent gives an impression of disinterest and lack of preparation. There are a number of good questions to ask at the end of an interview and below are some of our favourites here at CLS Recruitment;
- How would you describe a typical day in this team/office?
This question is a great way to break the ice with the interviewer. More often than not, the question allows scope for some harmless banter between yourself and the interviewer. Remember, they can be just as nervous and would welcome the opportunity to relax! However be sure not to get carried away with the harmless banter and end up saying something you should not.
If the interviewer relays any issues or frustrations in the team you should use this as an opportunity to highlight how you could alleviate the workload or more directly, to be the solution.
- What is the immediate need on this team you are looking to meet by fill with this position?
It is vital to distinguish in your own mind between what you are asking here and what is detailed on the job description. Here you are looking for the ‘real time’ needs of the team as opposed to the general continuous requirements of the job. What is a priority with this position? This could be something as simple as “We really need to get the work flow more organised within the team.” This information is invaluable to you in the interview and, if you are lucky enough, when you start the job.
You can use this information to realise that the interviewer is looking for a candidate with a high level of leadership qualities and you can immediately reassure the interviewer of your organisational skills and your ability to take a leading role within a team. If you get the job, you can keep the information at the forefront of your mind so that you have the opportunity to show your Manager instant results in your placement.
- How would you describe the Company’s internal culture and leadership philosophy?
As important as displaying confidence through questioning, you need to determine whether this company and job is the right fit for you. While you may not want to be choosy in the current labour market conditions, you should always ensure that the environment and culture has what is needed to facilitate your development needs and aid you to flourish. It is in the company’s interest as well as your own that you have the right environment and tools to realise your full potential!
- What is your communication style with your staff? How often do you engage with them?
This question will give you an insight into the level of engagement of your potential Manager. Do you perform better when working under a Manager who is actively engaging with you and giving you real time feedback? Or do you appreciate your space and ability to work uninterrupted with the option of seeking guidance or advice only when needed? This question will help you determine whether their Management style is your best fit.
Much confusion exists around the appropriateness of asking certain questions. One such question would be to enquire about pay if it has not already been clarified. This topic should not be brought up by you until toward the end of the selection process (2nd, 3rd interview or at an offer stage). The questions you ask in the first interview reflect what is at the forefront of your mind. The interviewer is looking for somebody who has a genuine interest in the role and the company.
Another question to treat similarly would be to enquire about promotions. If worded incorrectly, you could come across as disinterested in the job you are interviewing for and using it only as a stepping stone for the position you really want. Would you, if you were the interviewer, consider an applicant for a role who you feel is not interested in it and is likely to move on to another position or company in the short term? Why go through the effort of filling the same role twice? Again, you should keep this question for the later stages of the process. If you decide to ask, you should word it in a way that suggests that you are ambitious but your enquiry is a general. For example “Do you consider internal applicants for vacant positions and could you give me a recent example of when an internal applicant was successful?” You could tie this in with the question above regarding the company’s internal culture and leadership philosophy.
While we have listed the most effective and positive questions above, here are some additional questions that can also boost the interviewer’s opinion of you and also increase your knowledge of the position;
- Who would be the Manager and can I meet them?
- Could you please show me examples of projects I would be working on?
- Does the Company offer continued educational and professional training?
- What, in your opinion, distinguishes this company from it’s competitors in the eyes of the public and your employees?
- How have you seen this company change over the last 5-10 years and how to you envisage it changing in the next 5-10 years?
- What action are you taking to remain relevant in an era ever increasingly reliant on IT to operate internally and also to interact with clients/customers?
- Is there anything further you would like to know about me that may not have been covered by my CV or the interview so far?
- When do you expect you will have a decision made on the candidate you wish to offer the position to?