So you’ve spent the last 60 minutes being asked questions by the hiring manager as they try to gauge your skill set and decide if you’re the right fit for the role. The good news is now it’s your turn to ask some questions. Remember, an interview is a two-way thing. Not only is the hiring manager trying to decide if you’re a good fit for the role but at the same time you’re trying to determine if this is the right company for you.
During almost any interview at some point, almost always at the end you’re given the open question “Do you have any questions?” Probably the worst thing you can do is say “No”. Use this free time to ask those burning questions, and if you’ve prepared appropriately for the interview you will already have some to ask.
Below is a selection of questions you could ask the hiring manager if they haven’t already given you the answer during the interview:
- • What do you enjoy most about working here?
- • Do you offer continuing development and training?
- • Can you give me more information about the companies growth plans and current markets?
- • Is there scope for promotion in the future?
- • Can you tell me how the role relates to the overall structure of the company?
- • How would you describe the work culture here?
- • How do you measure performance here and how is it reviewed?
- • What are the most important challenges that your company is facing?
- • Can you tell me a little more about the team I’d be managing (only applicable for leadership roles)?
- • What is your preferred management style?
- • Where do you see the business in 5 years time?
- • If I was offered the job, what preparation could I do?
- • If I’m successful can you tell me what is likely to happen in my first week?
- • Why has the position become available?
- • What are the main KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) of the role?
- • Is there a probation period and if so what constitutes as success during this period?
- • How many people work in the office/department and what’s the turn over of staff like?
- • Is there any travel expected for the role and if so is this re-imbursed?
- • What does a typical work week consist of?
- • Would you like a list of my references?
- • If I’m successful, when would you be looking for me to start?
- • What’s the next step in the process?
- • Are there any other questions I can answer for you?
- • Do you have any reservations about my qualifications, skills or abilities to enable me to fulfil the position?
Don’t ask all of these questions, but maybe pick two or three that you’re interested in. Remember, some of these may already be answered during the course of the interview so don’t ask a question you have already had the answer to, otherwise this will show you don’t listen very well or take on board important information.
There are also some big no no’s when it comes to asking questions. Below is a list of questions we recommend you don’t ask during an interview:
- • What does the company do? (If you’ve done your research, which you should have, you will already know this).
- • If I get offered the job how quickly can I book time off? (Although it’s important to tell the company about any pre-booked holidays, you’re probably better waiting until you’re offered the position).
- • Did I get the job? (This makes you appear impatient, give them time to think about it. They will get back to you once they have decided).
- • How long will I have to wait to get promoted? (This implies you’re not interested in the job you’re applying for).
- • Never ask if the company monitors Internet usage and email messages. (This shows you can’t be trusted to use company equipment appropriately).
- • What do you like least about the company? (Firstly would they really tell you? Secondly if the company has any issues, an interview probably isn’t the best place to discuss them).
- • What is your policy on drinking during work hours and drug use? (Do you even need to be told why not to ask this question?)
Believe it or not, there are also questions that employers shouldn’t really ask either:
Questions about marital status, children and sexual preference.
Interviewers should not make any reference to a person’s marital status, children they may have or their sexual preference. All could be grounds for discrimination as companies might be deemed to view a person being married as either favourably in that they may see an applicant as being more stable, or perhaps, unfavourably in that they may see a conflict of interest between a single person having more time to devote to the job over a married person who might have family commitments to juggle. Likewise, questions about children should also be avoided. It also should go without saying that any questions about a persons sexual preferences are absolutely ‘off limits’.
Questions about your age.
With the new Age Discrimination Laws having been introduced only a few years ago which affect all jobs, apart from establishing that a person meets the required minimum age to do the job, you should not be asked any questions about your age during a job interview. A prime example of what not to say to an applicant would be to ask of say a 60-year old, “How many more years do you see yourself in the workforce?” That would be discriminatory.
Questions about disability and illness.
As a general guide, interviewers need to tread carefully here. Asking you to explain a significant amount of time off sick from any previous jobs would be perfectly acceptable, as would asking if there are any special measures you require for your interview. However, questioning a person over a disability and whether or not they would affect their ability to do the job would not be and would be grounds for Disability Discrimination.
Questions about lifestyle choices.
It is also illegal at interviews for employers to ask jobseekers any questions relating to personal lifestyle choices, for example about their consumption of alcohol or whether they smoke. Of course, a company can set out rules regarding the use of these kinds of substances and state what is and is not permitted at work within the staff handbook. However, what an employee does outside of work and work time is not the companies business and, therefore, no questions should be asked about it at interview.