"Do you have any questions for us...?"(22 Posts)
I have two interviews this week
because I loathe my current job with a passion and I'm wondering what are some good, standard questions to ask the prospective employer when they ask. The roles are similiar, as in admin, clerical, office, etc, but one is in a college and one is in fashion (co-ordination, HR type things).
For past interviews I've had in education settings, I've asked about getting involved in extra-curricular activities, but I don't think that'll apply to this role.
So, what I'm asking is basically, can you suggest any good stock questions to ask that can be adapted for the role?
Thanks in advance
You could maybe ask about whether there will be a chance to do any training for you? That's one of my standard questions.
Or sometimes I take mental notes of things we are talking about and at the end say "I was going to ask about X but we've already covered it." Bit of a wash out that one, but feels better than going "Err... no."
I've been told that the way to deal with this question is to use it as an opportunity to get the interviewers to start thinking about YOU in this role. A good question from this starting point is "What do you think the main challenges will be in the first 3/6 months in this role?". You could also ask about the induction process and/or whether there are any major changes expected in the organisation in the coming year. These questions may also actually result in you getting some useful information, and they make you sound like you are very interested in the job/organisation too.
Thank you all.
alpaca not sure I'm brave enough to use some of those questions but that's a really handy link. I'll definitely steal a couple.
Career progression and training sound good, to show I'm interested in advancing in that role in particular.
It's been a while since I had an interview for something other than "corporate drone".
Be as specific to the company as possible, this is where research can really pay off.
Think about what you don't like in your current role, if this job is in a similar role, ask them how they manage your current issues. For example, when i last switched roles one of the negatives about my previous job was constant micro-management so I asked the new employers to describe the management style of the organisation.
Also a tip I've heard is rather than say:
"What do you think the main challenges will be in the first 3/6 months in this role?" (which i think is a good question from mabelbabel)
phrase it as:
What will be MY main challenges etc so your language reflects confidence.
One I like to turn around on interviewers, esp if they have asked the dreaded 'where do you see yourself in five years' time?' is question is exactly that: where do you see the organisation going over the next five years? Of course, mostly their answer is the same as the one I would give if I were being honest: I have no frigging idea. But they can't very well say that
I've done the main challenges of the role question as well and I think it's a good one. In fact it was one of my main reasons for turning a role down a few months back. I asked what the guy who would be my boss saw as the major challenges of the first 6 months in post and he was like: dunno, just do what it says in the project plan basically. Wow, inspiring.
The one question I would definitely not ask, and this happened at my old firm although I wasn't one of the interviewers was: "is there any reason why you wouldn't give me the job?" Err, are you kidding??
I would say always have a question ready, and I wouldn't personally make it about training as it makes it sounds like you only want to join the firm to get them to pay for your training, after which you will be off.
"What do you like about working in this company" and/or "How would you describe the culture of the company" elicits some interesting responses and will help you to find out useful information. I asked this at an interview earlier in the year and was surprised by the responses from the panel - one said how good it was that you only do a half day on the Friday and the other that the company was good for getting jobs for friends of staff (said something along the lines "I've got a friend who'd be good here, looks like I'm going to be able to find a job for them that's not been advertised) . The mind boggles as to why they thought these appropriate responses but it certainly didn't make me that confident about the company!
Definitely ask about challenges in the role in the first few months - you can sometimes use this as a way to add in some extra selling points for you. Such as "you will need to recruit a new team/produce a plan/put in place a process" - you then can say how that would fit very well with you previous experience in xyz job where you had to do similar.
I find this question easier when I remember that interviews are two-way things - it's not just them wanting to find out if they want to employ you, but it's also your chance to find out if you want to work for them. If you're in the position of needing a job, any job, got to pay the bills at the end of the month, it is harder to think about, but it really is worth thinking about.
In my field, on-call is almost always going to be part of the role, so I've asked what a typical on-call week can be like (if it's typically a few hours a night every other night in a week, that would be a deal-breaker for me.) I've also asked about training opportunities and career paths that other people have moved on to. I've asked if there's much datacentre (don't mind a bit, don't want to be doing it to be a major part of the role.) I've also asked more general questions about diversity and how many women there are, and there is one interview I've been in where I really didn't get a woman-friendly vibe from the company, which started while I was waiting in reception, and flicking through a "Welcome to our company!" brochure, which had photos from their various offices round the world, including "the wives of (our company)." It just all felt wrong.
Obviously questions like that are specific to the sort of roles I've done, but you should be able to think about things that you are really hoping for out of the job (might not want to point this out if you're hoping to take lots of time off and get tons of payrises), and there must be things which you really don't want to have to deal with. You might need to word this carefully - for example, if it's important for you to be out very promptly every day to get home to the children, you don't want to say, "I will have to leave dead on five every day," but you can ask whether there's lots of overtime expected, and questions about the culture can be good and might get you that information in a more roundabout way. I like the question about what will the main challenges be, too.
I have three:
1 - what are you looking for in the person to do this role? When they start to tell you, if there are things they mention that haven't been spoken about, make sure you demonstrate that you meet these.
2 - is there anything else you want to know about me? This gives them a chance to ask you anything 'off script', and explore aspects that you can then talk about that won't have been covered with the other candidates.
3 - [this job sounds great, just the sort of thing I am looking for]...what are the next steps? This shows that you have an awareness that there is a procedure and that you are keen to know the outcome.
Thank you all for your examples and advice. I feel like I could be in there for ages asking all sorts of questions first interview is tomorrow so I'll take on board some of the things you've suggested and see what suits as the interview progresses.
Really appreciate all your posts!
I've just been prepping my questions for an interview tomorrow, I always ask the one about what they think my main challenges will be and also if there is anything else they would like to know about my skills and experience - this will give you the chance to highlight areas that may be important but might not have come up iyswim. Always ask about the next steps - when I'll hear from them and if there will be further stages to the process.
I've got 6 written down and depending on how the interview has gone will ask 2/3, they will usually have answered the others during the interview. I take a conference folder in with my notes so they can see I've prepped/researched and thought about what I'm going to say and let them see that I am interviewing them just as much as they are me
I've done my fair share of interviewing and it amazes me how often candidates don't have a single question!
Is it quite common to take a folder/note book into an interview then?
boogie - I always take a copy of my CV and certificates with me too, along with any questions, extra paper and a pen.
Good luck something
I always take in the documentations that they ask for but do you ever end up looking at your
crib sheet portfolio when they ask you questions.
I've taken in prepared notes ever since I lost out on a internal promotion to a colleague who'd used notes. I was 23, first company after uni, and remember thinking at the time that it was cheating but then realised it's an interview, not an exam.
Now I take a folder with my CV, some notes about what I want to say, questions to ask and space to write down what they say. I also think it's a good way of balancing the interview and making it feel more like a two way process which helps me reduce nerves.
I hope the OP comes back to update. I'm job hunting at the moment so would like to hear some positive news.
I had the first interview today and asked questions about challenges within the role, which was well met. However, I was misinformed about the job as it's only a fixed term position until December. I couldn't really justify leaving my permanent role for something so short term. Doh.
Fingers crossed for the one on Friday though, which is for a job I'm actually more excited about.
Thanks for the support and advice
Good luck! It will be a doddle now you've done it once.
I was once having a conversation with a friend in a queue for the cinema and wondering what I should say in response to this question.
A lady behind me interrupted and said I should say: "Is there anything that you think I have answered fully or would like more clarification on".
I tried it in the interivew and the guy raised a concern which I was able to put right and I got the job!
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