An interview should not only be an opportunity for the company to assess if you are the right candidate for the position. You should also assess if the company is the right environment for you. And without asking questions you will never know.
However, be sure to ask these questions with respect and without sounding arrogant.
Here are some questions to ask, you will need to choose questions that are relevant to the position you are applying for. For example if you apply for the reception position in Cape Town, you don’t need to know what the company’s plans for expanding the branch in Johannesburg will be.
- How long has the company been operating?
- Is this a new position?
- (If it is not a new position) How did the vacancy arise?
- (If resignation) Why did the predecessor of this role resign and how long were they here? Or Are there any unique problems associated with the role?
In my opinion These 4 questions are so important to ask. You have a right to know why the position is available and if the company has a stable background. It might be a toxic environment… Well chances are they will not tell you the truth anyway…
What usually happens is… you get the job, start working… and about in your second week you find out why the previous 3 employees that held the position left, ‘They just couldn’t handle being treated like s**t…’ or ‘The hours are so strenuous, we haven’t had an off day in 2 months’…
- Who will I be reporting to and what would this person expect of me?
- Who will I be working with?
These will give you an idea of the pressure you will be working under. Is it just you working under a manager? Do you have co-workers that have the same job description?
- If my employment application is successful, what is the first task that I would be required to address?
Let’s face it job ads don’t give you a very clear picture of what you will be doing, this question can shed some light on the tasks you will be performing. This question can also reflect your enthusiasm and interest in the role you will be performing.
- What are the company’s short and long-term objectives for the company, the department and the specific role?
- Do you expect to offer any specialized training for the successful applicant?
- What is the career path for this particular role?
If you are specifically looking for a growth opportunity these 3 questions can help you decide if the company has the growth potential that you need. Are you going to work for the company for 5 years and walk away with improvement or will your skill level be unchanged. If they do offer training, what are the policies on this?
- I noticed ‘competitor company XYZ’ (mention a competitor name) recently announced ……. (Mention something that was recently launched in competition, or something news worthy, that might have impacted the company). What are the company’s thoughts on this and how did it impact the business directly or indirectly?
This question doesn’t have to be about a competitor, it is merely to show that you have an interest in the company. (If you are applying for a receptionist position, you don’t need to know management dealings). Also be careful with your question, you don’t what them to think you are fishing for information to give to their competitors. So change the question to be appropriate to your Need To Know status. I have seen this ad campaign or this research has recently been on the news… Or I see that the company has this product or opened a new branch. Do your research on the company!!!!
- Why were you interested in interviewing me?
- What personality type excels in this role?
It is good to know what made you stand out, understand what it is that the employer sees in you and why they think you will succeed. This will help you understand what their expectations are. It is better to know that you are ill-suited for a position than to start working there and absolutely hate every second. Work is work, if it was a party it would not be called work. But you at least want something that you can handle and possibly enjoy for the 8 or so hours a day that you have to spend there.I found these questions at Career Advise for interviews
Image from Toothpaste for Dinner