When you go into a job interview, you will be expecting to have a bunch of questions thrown your way. And because you have done your prep, you’ve sailed through them all with flying colours (and provided great examples!). But there’s one last question, which typically comes at the end of an interview, that can really throw candidates:
“is there anything you would like to ask us?”
It seems like a harmless enough question right? But many candidates underestimate the importance of being prepared for this one. This is your big opportunity to really show your initiative and genuine interest in the role, not to mention it’s a good way to find out more about the workplace and whether it’s going to be right for you.
So what do you say? Especially if the interviewer has already answered your pre-prepared questions you had throughout the interview? Here’s a handy list of questions that you can ask at your next interview:
You spend a lot of time at work, so you need to make sure it’s going to be the right environment for you. Some good questions to ask for insight into the team culture are:
- What is the team culture like here? (of course!)
- What does success look like here?
- What’s your management style? (or if you are being interviewed by someone other than who the role reports to: what is the manager’s style?)
- How long have you been with the company and what do you like most about working here? (If they haven’t been with the company long themselves, ask what attracted them or how they ended up coming on board)
A common reason for people leaving a new job early is that “it just wasn’t what I’d expected”. It’s one thing reading a position description or a job ad, it’s quite another to be in there doing it for real. Unfortunately sometimes our (or the manager’s) expectations don’t quite match reality. Get a good sense of what your day to day workload would be like with questions like this:
- What could be some challenges that I might face to begin with?
- What are the main goals or desired outcomes for this role?
- What does a typical day look like in this role?
- What is the hardest part of this role?
- Is there any part of this role that you are hoping the new person will improve or change?
- What systems do you use?
- What are the most important skills to have for this role?
Let’s be honest, every job and organisation has its pros and cons. When you are interviewing, you will likely only hear all the positive things about working there. Try and read between the lines and look for any potential problems with these questions:
- Why is this role available? – watch out for answers relating to stress or troubles getting on with the team/manager.
- Is there any opportunity for growth in this role or organisation? – test the waters around progression and stability, although be careful to do it in a way that won’t make it look like you want to move from the original job immediately!
- Are there any upcoming changes planned for the organisation? – another subtle way of asking how stable the job is.
- Is the team here fairly established or are there recent arrivals? – watch out for answers indicating a high staff-turnover.
- Has this role always existed within the organisation? Has it changed in any way? – similar to why the role is available, this one gives insight into the history of the job and the organisation (good or bad)!
Help manage your own expectations by asking some key questions around how the recruitment process is being managed:
- What attributes are you looking for in a candidate?
- When will you be making your final decision?
- Will you advise me if I am not successful?
- What is the training/induction process like?
- Do you perceive any gaps in my skills or experience in terms of this role?
Interviews are often scheduled and have a set amount of time allocated, so we aren’t suggesting you cover off every single question on this list. But we hope this gives you some good ideas of what to ask when the time comes!
Think we’ve missed something? Add your suggestions in the comments!
Kirsty and Nikki