Arriving for an interview in a polished pencil skirt with a warm smile and a can-do attitude will definitely put you
In good standing for a job offer, but it will not necessarily separate you from other potential candidates. However, by asking the interviewer thought-provoking questions, you’ll not only learn more about the company and whether it is the right fit for you, but you will also stand out, which means landing the job is more likely.
‘An interview is a two-way selection process. Asking questions, therefore, is highly important for showing a keen interest in the role and company, as well as gaining insight into a place where you’ll be spending most of your waking hours,’ says Heather Johnson, research and approval consultant at Key Recruitment.
‘A prospective employer will be highly impressed by a candidate who is well prepared, inquisitive and enthusiastic. They are more likely to engage with such a person during the interview.’
When it comes to the shortlist round, your interviewer is also more likely to remember you if you pose a number of interesting questions.
Easy does it
On the other hand, you don’t want to come across as steamrolling through hundreds of questions just for the sake of it.
‘It’s important to make sure you actively listen to the answers given by the interviewer,’ advises Heather. ‘Write down the interviewer’s answers and respond if you have something valuable to add.’
Before the interview, research the company you are going to see and prepare a few questions you would like to ask. Add any questions that come up during the course of the interview to your list. Ask all your questions at the end, once the interviewer has finished with their questioning.
Here are a few pointers to asking the correct types of questions:
- Questions such as ‘What are the common attributes of the company’s top performers?
- ‘What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
are excellent to ask, as they show you are willing to become a top achiever in the business and are finding out exactly what you can do to be successful. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to mention a desired skill or attribute you may not have covered yet.
- What would I be expected to accomplish in the first 60 days? or ‘What would my first month at the company look like? will provide you with an outline of your daily tasks and monthly targets, and also show that you’re willing to devise a game plan right from the get-go to achieve what’s required from you.
- What is it about my application that stood out? or Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
reveal that you are confident in your skills but still willing to learn more about yourself and what you could work on for personal growth outside your skill set.
- Why is this position open? or Who previously held this position? will provide you with more information about the state of the company and its employees.
- Is there room for growth? can be a bit of a double-edged sword, as the employer may not want to hire someone who is too set on climbing the corporate ladder. Heather recommends posingthis as a business-related question instead:
- Is this a specialist role or would you want someone who takes this knowledge into other roles within the company?
- Am I expected to bring work home with me? may seem as though you are not prepared to put in the extra effort when required. Rather ask if the company budgets for overtime at the office or prefers employees to complete work at home.
You didn’t get the job.
If you’ve been unsuccessful in your interview, keep your head up high and consider sending a thank-you email. Thank the interviewer for their time and perhaps include something along the lines of “I wish you and the chosen candidate all the best”. You can also use this opportunity to ask the interviewer if they have any advice or comments regarding your application that they would like to share, says research and approval consultant Heather Johnson of Key Recruitment.