It’s a scenario many of us have found ourselves in. You’re nearing the end of a job interview and finally, you can begin to relax a little. Despite the nerves, you’ve come across well and answered all the questions confidently - and with a little bit of luck, you may just be offered the position.
Before you can run out of the room, however, the interviewer wants to know if you have any questions for them.
It might be tempting to say no, so you can leave as quickly as possible - but asking questions can be of huge benefit when it comes to interviewing for a job.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that interviews should always be considered a two-way street. Yes, the recruiter is interested in finding out if your skills and abilities are suited to the role in question. But a job interview is also a chance for you to work out if this is the right job for you - and if you are going to fit in well at the company.
“As candidates, we can often get caught up in the whole process, particularly as we try to remember the answers we’ve prepared but it’s equally as important to take time towards the end of the interview to ask your own questions,” says Row Davies, HR business manager at the recruitment firm Macildowie.
While you’re preparing for your interview and imagining the kind of questions you might be asked, it’s also useful to think about any queries you might have too. However, don’t ask an interviewer anything you can find out easily yourself, either online or on the company’s social media channels.
“It’s crucial for you to assess whether the company is the right fit for you, as just like any relationship, both need to benefit and feel comfortable with the partnership,” Davies says.
“Not only does the process allow you to show your enthusiasm for the company, asking questions also gives you the opportunity to check your goals and values are aligned with the business. You don’t want to be a year or more down the line and find that the company is heading in a direction that you don’t want to or perhaps can’t follow.”
So what kind of questions should you be asking as an interview candidate?
Davies believes there are three key questions that should be on every job applicant’s list.
“The first, is asking the interviewer ‘is there anything regarding my experience you would like me to expand upon?’. Not only does this show that you are engaged, it also provides you with the opportunity to further emphasise your strengths and how you believe these will be an asset to the company’s objectives,” she says.
The second is about learning and development - and specifically, whether the company is actively investing in their employees. After all, you want to know that you’re going to move forward in a job.
“Ask, ‘how do you support the professional development of your employees?’. Answers to this question will give you an insight into how the business will support you as you progress up the career ladder,” Davies says.
“It also shows the interviewer you have aspirations and a drive to succeed in the organisation.”
Finally, it’s a good idea to find out more about the company’s environment and whether they look after their employees.
“I would encourage any of my candidates to ask the interviewer, ‘what do you like most about working for the company?’ This is great for building a personal connection with the interviewer, giving them the opportunity to share their personal views and the passion they have for the company,” Davies says.
“You’ll also find it beneficial to understand where your views align with theirs, and get a real sense of the culture at the business.”