By Liam Horan, Career Coach & Managing Director, Sli Nua Careers
Q: What kind of questions should I put to the interview panel when they ask me “do you have any questions for us?” at the end of the interview. This comes up all the time and I find it flummoxes me. There are questions I would like to ask but I’m unsure what would be appropriate to ask. I reckon they watch this part of the interview very closely so I would like to get it right. Any suggestions? Thanks (GN, email).
FINTAN DUNNE, SLIGO: GN, this totally depends on the job you have applied for and how your interview progressed. If you felt that the interview did not fully explain your particular skill or expertise you could ask a question in such a way that the members could get to see the full extent of your skill or expertise. If there was an important issue that you felt was not covered during the interview, or not covered adequately enough, then ask a question to bring that issue back into the conversation.
Also, during the interview if something occurs to you that you would like to question, but is not appropriate to question at that time, you can explore/question the issue at the end of the interview. These are things you will have to read as an interview unfolds but, over time, you will get the hang of it.
MARY O’BRIEN-KILLEEN, CLAREMORRIS: GN, a good question to ask is “If I were the successful candidate what would your expectations be of me for the first three / six / 12 months?” The number of months you go for should be related to the duration of the popsition and the nature of the role – by their nature, some roles take longer than others to crack. Show them you wish to get to know their expectations so that you can then set about fulfilling them.
An employer really needs to know that you are thinking about the job at hand. By asking this question, you can open a further discussion about the actual job that’s being divvied out on the day, and the more you can talk about that job – and put yourself, metaphorically speaking, in the actual seat doing the job – the better your chances of them seeing you as the right fit.
MARK MCDONALD, DUBLIN NORTH: GN, the offer to ask questions at the end of the interview is an ideal opportunity for you to demonstrate your research into the company and the role in question. Ask targeted questions which are relevant to the role, the company or market. Your research should lead you to formulate questions about the team you may be joining, the market in which the company operates, new products or services, use of IT in the classroom if it’s a teaching role, possible business expansion and so on.
It’s not a time to enquire about pay and conditions – although we want to know this information as well. Research is the key word here and should form a considerable part of your interview preparation. Well-conducted research will automatically generate questions which will help you to present yourself in as professional a manner as possible. Another one is to show interest in the company – what are the career progression steps within your company?
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