At a job interview, asking the right questions is sometimes more important than answering the interviewer’s standard queries. Your answers will make an impact, for sure, but what you ask the interviewer when the tables are turned can be the make or break part of an interview.
By that, I don’t mean asking them what growth opportunities they offer or how many types of tea they serve in the cafeteria. These pointed questions we’re about to share with you say a lot about how much you respect yourself and your career.
So, the next time your interview reaches that point where the person on the other side of the table asks: “Do you have any questions for us?”, remember to have some of these 11 questions ready. You don’t have to use all of them. In fact, you can’t use them all without taking up valuable time. Just use the ones you’re comfortable asking. Two to three is usually enough.
These 11 questions are listed in no particular order of importance.
#1 – What would the ideal candidate profile look like, and how do I compare with that?
This is a very direct question that asks about your chances of landing the job. Most interviewers like direct questions because it shows them you can stand up for yourself. That’s a very important considerations for key positions in the company.
#2 – How would you describe the company’s culture?
Of course, you can read this off their website most of the time, but it’s great when you want the interviewer – usually an employee of the company – to start talking about something they’re typically passionate about.
#3 – Who do you consider to be your major competitors in this space? How are you better?
Be careful with this one because it implies that you can contribute to that edge in some way. Not all job roles lend themselves to that. If it’s a key position like Sales Manager, by all means go for it.
#4 – Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
Another direct question, but a highly effective one if you sense that the interviewer might have an issue with your resume. It’s also a good way to get the interviewer to open up and share any concerns they may have. Better to know right now than get a standard rejection letter without knowing exactly why you weren’t chosen for the job.
#5 – What do you like the most working for this company?
This is not just small talk. At an interview – especially yours – it can be a very powerful question. Why? Because everybody loves to talk about themselves, and it allows you to see into their personality like little else can.
#6 – What are some of the specific challenges with this position?
This question will help unearth any problems that the incumbent person or ex-position-holder might have had. Again, it’s a direct question, but that’s the only way to get a direct answer. Besides, this is an important aspect of the role that you really want to know beforehand.
#7 – What qualities do you value at this organization? And specific to the role?
You want to know what the company sees as being important, not only with respect to your potential job but across the company as a whole. It will also help you advance faster if you know what qualities are valued.
#8 – Is there anyone else you’d like me to meet with?
This is a bit of a delicate question because it presumes that you’re moving forward to the next round. An experienced interviewer will probably preface their answer with “if we decide to move your application forward”, so be ready for that. It doesn’t always mean you’re on the rejection list, but some consummate HR folks are really good at poker!
#9 – How do you help your team grow professionally?
This is a key question for hourly jobs because it shows the interviewer that you’re serious about progressing within the company rather than looking for a short-term position. It also clues you in on some of the continuing adult education perquisites that companies often have in place to incentivize their employees and keep them on the cutting edge of their industry.
#10 – When your staff comes to you with a complaint against another employee, how do you respond?
This reveals a lot about the company’s HR policies, but during the interview it shows the other person that you’re aware that dealing with disagreements in a professional manner is critical to the company’s success and growth, and that of its people.
#11 – Will I be able to meet with my team or my manager as part of the interview process?
This shows involvement in the position, and an eagerness to meet the people you’ll be working with. Experts say that if that option isn’t available, then “proceed with caution.” There’s got to be a good (or bad) reason if HR doesn’t want you to meet the people you’ll be working with.
What you’re trying to do with these questions is to give the interviewer some insight into your experience with other companies. You’re also telling them that you’re aware of what’s important, not only to the company, but to you as well.
We’ll leave you with some interesting statistics to give you food for thought:
Every corporate job attracts about 250 resumes, on average. That’s how many people you’re competing with every time you apply for a job.
Intelligence is only the 10th most important thing an employer looks for. The Top 3 are communication, a positive attitude and teamwork/cooperation.
Only 2% of applications typically get interviewed. So make sure your resume stands out from the bunch.
Recruiters take an average of 6 seconds to scan a resume. Again, make sure every relevant detail appears at the beginning.
Good luck with that interview!