Your insightful questioning can produce better answers

Interviews are not just about candidates answering questions – they are about candidates asking questions too.

Every juncture in an interview is an opportunity to show how your skills, attributes and characteristics meet the employer’s needs. It is a point we have mentioned here before and we cannot stress it often enough.

Ergo, you should use up every minute as effectively as you possibly can.

Here are five effective questions to ask the interviewer at the closing stages of the interview:

  • What is the company’s policy regarding further training? Follow this up with something along the lines of “I’m a person who likes to get the best possible training to ensure I am abreast of the most efficient ways of doing my job, and would be very interested in furthering my professional knowledge.” Here, your depiction of yourself as someone hungry for training is arguably more important than your question.
  • What is the biggest challenge facing your organisation today? You can follow this up with a more specific question regarding the department or sector the prospective job is in, and how you would contribute to the organisation’s success. If you have done some research the question will show a real interest that moves beyond the usual 39 hours, health insurance and salary enquiries.
  • What are the main things you are looking for from a candidate going for this role? The job advertisement is a wish list drawn up by either human resources professionals or a manager using exacting language for the purpose of the advertisement. For these reasons it is a good idea to probe further into what they will actually be expecting, in order to get a feel for the position. From learning more about the position you get more room to establish yourself as an ideal candidate, as you could reply to the interviewer’s information about the role by highlighting how you have performed similar tasks in previous roles. Getting in deep is always a good idea.
  • Are there opportunities for advancement in the organisation/what is the company’s promotional policy? Again this is highlighting your eagerness and enthusiasm. That might be off-putting on a first date, but it’s a ‘green means go’ in an interview situation. This question shows self-belief and determination i.e if there is room for promotion you will strive to produce quality work in order to be considered.
  • What are the current plans for expansion or cutbacks? In some cases employers hire people to assist in the wind down of a company. It is imperative that you are equipped with all relevant information before possibly being offered the job. Yet again this question can be used to illustrate why you are just right for the position. You could follow up this question with “if there is room for expansion or, indeed, cutbacks I am aware that team work is a necessity when completing tasks through either of these transitions, and believe I can ensure quality work when faced with adversity.”


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