The 6 Must Ask Questions In An Interview
Written by Leah Lambart from Relaunch Me.
This week I had an interview coaching session with Jennifer, an experienced professional who was looking to hone her interview skills for a more senior opportunity. Securing this position is of particular importance to Jennifer as it will allow her to step up to the next level and move her one step closer to her long-term career goal of being a Marketing Director.
Towards the end of our coaching session, I asked Jennifer what questions she had prepared to ask the interview panel. She responded that she would probably just make them up on the spot as she had always done in previous interviews. I was surprised by her response. Given her experience, I would have expected that Jennifer would have prepared specific questions to obtain the essential information required to make an informed decision should she receive a job offer.
I suggested to Jennifer that she think about the most important points she needed to ask to obtain information about what was most important to her. These points could include information about the working environment; the anticipated challenges should she be offered the role, details about the team she would be managing, the values of the organization and whether the company would be able to satisfy her career goals.
As I explained to Jennifer, the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview would also allow her to build some rapport with the panel before the end of the interview. Therefore, it is advisable that she ask open questions to encourage some two-way conversation also allowing her the opportunity to potentially provide more detail about her relevant experience, skills, and abilities.
Here are the 6 must ask questions in an interview:
1) Can you tell me more about the team I would be joining or managing?
Asking about the team allows for some open conversation about the size of the team, the backgrounds of each member, their expertise and perhaps even some personality traits. By asking this question, you to get an insight as to whether the team may have a similar background to yourself and whether you would be a fit with this company.
2) What would be the key priorities in the first 3-6 months?
This question will give you insight into what their expectations are for the incumbent and will also show the panel that you are results-oriented. By providing an overview of the top priorities for the role, you will quickly be able to assess whether you have the skills and ability to meet their requirements. This conversation may also give you the opportunity to add in any relevant experience that you have from previous roles that would be desirable.
3) How would you describe the culture of the organization?
This question should give you insight into what they value in their workplace culture. It should also give you an idea as to whether the team will suit your personality and aligned to your values. I always advise my clients to ask for examples to see if they can back up what they are promoting. If they say that there is a terrific work/life balance, ask politely for some examples to gain an understanding of whether their definition of work/life balance is the same as yours.
4) What do you anticipate will be the greatest challenges if I was successful in securing this role?
The response to this question should give you valuable information about what may be the biggest difficulties if you were offered the position. A good employer should be upfront about the challenges faced if they want the right person on board. Complications may include the need to performance manage a staff member, long hours or significant travel requirements. These are all essential elements that you need to know upfront to make the best decision.
5) Can you tell me about the next steps in the recruitment process and when I could expect to hear from you?
An important question as it allows you to plan for any future measures in the process and it also gives you an approximate timeframe to expect any follow-up emails or calls. This question will ensure that any correspondence following the interview is appropriate and won’t be considered to be pushy.
6) What do you enjoy most about working here?
This is my favorite question as it gives you some insight as to whether the interviewer enjoys their job. If they pause and can’t think of anything to say then I would probably run a mile. This is also a fantastic question to ask at subsequent interviews to see if you get consistent messages coming through about the organization.
If you need assistance with preparing for your next interview, please contact Leah Lambart at Relaunch Me Career Consulting on 0413 558 758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This is another fantastic article, thank you Leah. A great one to pass onto anyone looking for a new career. My son has just started a new job, and wished he had these questions for the interview as they would have helped with his confidence.