Expert advice from Dave Wood of www.northwestwebjobs.co.uk .
Anyone that’s ever attended a meeting, or a presentation, will be familiar with that awkward moment when the attendees are asked “Have you got any questions?”. How many times have we all sat, silently, in a room full of people experiencing a collective mental blankness?
This same situation often arises in job interviews. Only, in this scenario, the onus is entirely on a single jobseeker to raise the questions. The jobseeker’s performance, at this crucial point in the interview process, can make or break their chances of gaining employment.
With this issue in mind, I decided to brainstorm a list of five purposeful questions that a jobseeker can ask, in the closing stages of any given job interview.
1) What kind of backgrounds do the people that work here come from?
Asking this question is a great way to show an interest in the wider goings-on of the business. Your reply should afford you valuable insight into the attributes of what could, potentially, be your new workmates.
By asking this question, not only will you learn more about the company’s staff but you will also be better placed to assess your chances of getting the job.
2) What would you expect me to accomplish within the first month or two?
You can use a question like this to exhibit your enthusiasm for the job. It’s a question that could lead to a discussion about your ability to hit the ground running, providing the employer with an immediate return on investment.
After asking such a question, you should also leave the interview with a clear understanding the areas that you can expect to receive training in, should you achieve employment.
3) Where do you see the company being in five years time?
It’s common for employers to ask a candidate where they see themselves being in five years time. This is just one of many questions that can be turned around to the employer, at the end of the interview.
Asking this question would give you the opportunity to assess the vision and ambition of the organisation. This vision, or lack thereof, could tell you much about the long-term possibilities that may be open to you.
Whilst discussing this question, you could also directly reference a growing industry trend (that is to say, one that has come up during your research). For example, asking a farmer how they intend to deal with the growing cost of chicken feed, would be a great way to show a level of empathy for, and understanding of, their business.
4) How would my skills complement those of the current staff?
This is another question that should help you to assess your chances of getting the job. Indeed, it’s important to gather as much information as possible about your employment prospects, without directly asking whether or not you have got the job.
What’s more, asking this question will provoke the employer to consider, further, the attributes that you are bringing to the table. Meanwhile, you will also get to know the people that you would be working most closely with, in and around your department.
5) How many people are you interviewing today?
Although extremely purposeful, a question like this might be best saved for the casual, post-interview chit-chat.
In truth, the answer doesn’t, directly, concern you. You should also be mindful of spending the valuable interview time selling yourself. However, in order to plan your upcoming jobseeking activities accordingly, it would be extremely useful to ascertain what the level of competition, for the position in question, is like.
See if you can sneak it into the conversation, subtly.
Preparation is vital in any interview situation. Write down the above questions, and a selection of your own, on a slip of paper, before setting off for the interview. Producing this note will stop you from forgetting your questions, and it will also act as a visual representation of the amount of preparation that you have done.
Oh, and one last tip...before asking your questions, always be sure to compliment the interviewers on the fact that they have “done a pretty good job of covering most of the important things”. Flattery and gratitude can be a very potent combination.