15. Questions to ask at the end
It is very unlikely for an interview to conclude without the candidate being asked “Do you have any questions for us?” Yet many people waste the opportunity to ask intelligent questions at the end of the interview. Although there is a sense of relief that the worst is over, you also are being assessed on the value of your questions so ensure you have prepared a few. It will also demonstrate that you have done your homework, researched the company and understand the market and environment in which they operate. Your questions should show that you have a genuine interest in progressing with the company.
This means avoiding anything to do with money, benefits, hours of work, etc. as it makes you look like you placing too much focus on what you are expecting from them rather than what you are offering them. There is always the opportunity after a first interview to clarify such details so wait for a more appropriate time to ask those questions.
Instead, you should choose questions which show you have initiative and are able to think strategically (if going for a senior position). It is always useful to have a handful of questions ready in case one of your prepared questions does get answered during the interview, so you want to be able to think on your feet and choose another appropriate question.
Important Note – Study their website/literature well, it will not do you any favours to ask a question to which their answer is clearly published or something very obscure where the interviewer is unlikely to know the answer!
What do you see as the priorities for this job in the first six months?
This allows the interviewer to go into more detail about what the post actually requires within the first few months (sometimes this detail isn’t always clear from a Job Spec which may be outdated). It’s a chance for you to fully understand what is immediately needed from the role and if possible even explain why those priorities are ideally suited to your experience.
If I was given the job, how do you see the role evolving over the next two to three years?
This is a confident way of wording the question and helps the interviewer to envisage you doing the role. It also allows you to gain a fuller picture of how your career may develop and also expresses your keenness to progress in the role.
How do you think the company might develop over the next five years? Or … You have recently introduced a new product/service/division – how will this benefit the company?
These questions demonstrate that you are interested not just in the job but in the company’s future plans. It will be apparent that you have done some research and want to hear more about their opportunities for growth. The first question also shows that you would like longevity with the company and are keen on developing a career path. Interviewers generally like to hire people who demonstrate commitment and can develop with the company.
What training and professional development opportunities will be available?
This is a common question to ask as it highlights that you are keen to advance your skills and add further value to their company.
Why has this job become available?
This gives you an opportunity to find out whether it is a new post that you can develop, whether the company is looking to expand in a particular area or whether the previous person left, and why.
How will you measure my performance and how often?
This question tells the interviewer that you are used to regular assessments and do not have a problem being measured against organisational objectives. It also demonstrates that you appreciate the importance of delivering tangible results.
How would you describe the team/work culture here?
This question demonstrates that you are a team-player and that you want to be able to operate at your optimum and that to achieve this you require an environment which is conducive to a positive work culture.
May I tell you a little more about my particular interest in developing technical solutions/developing new business/implementing improved systems?
If you feel as though you haven’t been able to fully get across a point which you feel is very relevant and important to the role, this is your last chance to blow your own trumpet and maximise your opportunity to sell yourself.
Is there anything you’d like me to clarify or explain in more detail?
Interviewers are often busy taking notes during the interview that can lead to them missing something you have said earlier which is relevant for them. Asking this question gives them a chance to clear up any questions or doubts they may have about you but you need to be ready to address any reservations they may have as this will probably be your last chance to do so.
What do you enjoy most about working here?
This is good question as it really gets the interviewer/s to think about the best aspects of the company and gets them to do some work! Do remember, your interview is a two-way process so they should be able to sell the reasons to you as to why they are a good company and why you should want to work for them.
This may take some bravery…
Do you have any doubts about my ability to do this job?
This is a more direct way of asking the above question and most people are wary of using it but it can be useful if you know that you are lacking in a particular area. This question allows the interviewer to bring that point to the surface so that it can be confronted and addressed. Of course, you need to respond with an answer which states how you intend to overcome this issue.
Closing the Interview
In the wrapping-up stage, it is acceptable to ask when you can expect to hear from them, particularly if you have other interviews/offers to consider. And finally, remember to thank the interviewers for their time before you leave.