The interview is as much an opportunity for you to ask questions of a potential employer as it is for the potential employer to ask questions about you. The interview should be a two way street, as, when you are job hunting it really is as important that you understand if the job is right for you just as much as whether you are right for the job.
There is always something to Ask
Asking well timed and thoughtful questions will give you the opportunity to express your interest in a role and as well as allowing the interviewer the opportunity to see that you are keen and are taking the decision to attend interview seriously. It’s a good idea to jot down your thoughts prior to the interview in order that you can refer to them.
Questions that enquire about the company’s goals and desired qualities are good ones to pose. For example, you may ask the company what their goals are for the next year or the next quarter. Or, you may want to enquire about the qualities a potential candidate could have that would help them to succeed in the role for which you are interviewing.
How Well You Did
You may be very tempted to ask how well the interviewer thought everything went, or even ask outright if you got the job. This is even more tempting when you’ve just had a wildly successful interview. Before you do, consider that the interviewer may need to meet with their colleagues before getting back to you. They may need to interview other candidates – a good question may well be “when can I expect to hear from you?”, “Are you seeing any other candidates for this role?” or “how well do I compare to date?”
Asking about the Company
It is always advisable to plan well for an interview and to undertake some research on the business beforehand. I heard only last week that a client was seeing people for a job role and not one candidate had any idea of what the company did. This not only looks very poor, but in this instance, the interviews were terminated early in order not to waste anyone’s time.
If they enjoy working for the company, employees usually like to talk about their work and will gladly tell you other things that may not be published, such as the history of the company, awards it has won, and its values. If the person you are talking to is not complementary about the company they work for, this could be a warning sign as to how motivated the current staff actually are.
The Money Question
All interviewees want to know when they may be eligible for a pay rise. But it’s important to remember that pay increments and bonuses are usually performance based, making this question difficult for the interviewer to answer at this early stage.
This doesn’t mean you can’t find out about advancement; you can ask the interviewer how a review of performance is carried out, and on what basis. Or, you can ask the interviewer if the company promotes advancement internally, and then ask for examples.
Interviewing for a career can be made much easier when you have the above tips to follow. To ensure that you are prepared with some good and thought provoking questions, an employment agency is a great resource. They can help you with all aspects of your CV as well as every other step in the process.
Tricia Hay is Owner, Director of First Base Employment Limited