Picture the scene. You are in an interview. It’s gone well and it’s coming to the end. You are ready to get away and relax / celebrate, then they ask ‘do you have any questions for us’?
YES! Yes, you do. You always need to have questions prepared for the interviewer(s).
There are two reasons for this.
1. It is another way to showcase yourself. To demonstrate you have done your research. To show your credibility and expertise. To (appropriately) challenge and be curious.
2. It is also an opportunity to learn more about the culture, leadership, company direction or other things that are important to you. Remember recruitment is a two-way process. You need to assess their fit for you as much as they assess yours for them.
One of my previous clients, a Head of Resourcing, approached this section in a different way to most. He started the interview with it and also dedicated a significant proportion of the time to it. He wanted to see how prepared the individual was, and their confidence and competence in leading a meeting.
Generally, however, candidate questions are invited at the end of a structured interview when the interviewer has completed their various sections. Often little time is left for it, and it can feel like an afterthought or as though you shouldn’t take too long on it.
But don’t skulk away without asking anything. Even if you don’t have long, select one or two well planned questions and ask them, and then really listen to the answers.
This is not the time to ask non-urgent logistical questions or how many days holiday the role comes with. It is the time to treat this role-reversal as another way to sell yourself and get to know them, almost like another stage of the recruitment process.
Some of my personal favourite questions to use are:
- What made you join the company, and what makes you stay?
- If you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing here, what would it be?
- What is your view on (something you read on Glassdoor)?
- How are you tackling (something you read in the Annual Report)?
- What challenge keeps you awake at night?
- How do you lead? (to your potential future line manager).
- What do you want the role-holder to deliver in the first month / quarter / year?
- What are the biggest upcoming priorities for the organisation?
As an interviewer a question I really don’t like, and would suggest you steer clear of, is ‘how did I do?’ or similar. Do your best, then get out of there with no awkwardness. You will find out the outcome when they have seen all the candidates, read back through their notes, scored them, and discussed them with their fellow interviewer. By asking them to comment before they have done this you could be putting them in a slightly uncomfortable position.
I would love to hear your favourite candidate questions and why they have been helpful.
If you are going for interviews currently and would like support with preparation, read my earlier blog: These two easy changes will massively increase your success at interview.
For more information on working with me see my website’s Invest Page.