As your interview comes to a close, you can't help but feel quietly confident that you have managed to impress the interviewer. You've provided them with some great responses, highlighted your relevant experience, and demonstrated why you're the best candidate for the job. Then comes the inevitable question – “Are there any questions you would like to ask?” While you may feel that you have already covered off all your key points, this question not only provides an opportunity to learn more about the position and company, it also demonstrates your interest. While it's a simple question, your response can speak volumes about you as a candidate and how your interviewer perceives you – so you need to make sure you get it right! The most successful candidates aren't just able to answer questions; they can ask them as well.
So how should you approach this question?
Ensuring you are prepared ahead of time should be your number one priority. Read over the job description and company overview prior to the interview, and take note of things you would like more clarification or information on. As a rule, you should ask at least two or three open-ended questions. Occasionally, you might find that a question you had in mind will be answered during the interview – so it's always best to have some backup questions just in case! If you're unsure of the type of questions you should ask, we've outlined below some of our suggestions:
How would you describe the culture of [insert company name here]?
An interview is not just one sided - it is also designed for you to assess your prospective employer, to see if they are the right fit for you. Asking this question gives you an insight into whether the company's culture and values align with what you're looking for, so you can see if you can picture yourself working there.
How would you describe a typical day in this role?
It's important to know exactly what a job entails, so you can make the best assessment on whether you will enjoy it. After all, you need to know what will be your day-to-day tasks if you're successful. If these daily tasks sound mundane or unappealing, then that's a strong indication that the job isn't right for you.
What are your expectations for this role?
You might have an idea about what you'll be doing in the role, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're aware of management's expectations. Knowing these expectations can again help you to determine if you're a good fit, and if you will enjoy the role. It can also give you guidance on how to approach the role, should you be successful.
What are you hoping the employee you hire can accomplish in the first 12 months?
This is similar to the previous question, but can also give you some solid benchmarks and targets for your first year in the job. It also demonstrates to the interviewer that you're a hard worker who is serious about achieving company goals.
How does this position contribute to achieving the department's overall goals?
Asking this question can give you an overview of the company's organisational structure – and where this role sits in the scope of the company. From the interviewer's perspective, it illustrates that you're a team player who wants to contribute to the overall success of their department, which is something that will be close to their heart.
What opportunities for professional development and advancement are there in this role?
Before you start a role, it's important to be aware of any future opportunities that it could lead to. This gives you an indication of the possible career path you could take, and whether this is in line with your goals. Asking about professional development and advancement will also tell your interviewer that you are ambitious.
What do you view as the most challenging aspect of this role?
Understanding the challenges associated with a role can help to assess if it's ideal for you. If you're somebody who doesn't cope well with stress, you should probably avoid a high pressure role. It's better to be aware of the challenges ahead of time, rather than find out that you struggle with them a few months into the job.
Do you have any questions or concerns about my experience or qualifications?
While it might sound awkward to ask about your shortcomings, this is an excellent opportunity for you to speak openly with your interviewer about any concerns they might have. For instance, the interviewer might be concerned that you are overqualified for the role. This question can enable them to voice these concerns – allowing you to explain why you're interested in the role and how you're previous experience will be valuable.
You know what questions to ask, but are you ready if your interview is virtual? Read our tips on how to best present yourself in a virtual interview here.