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How to Clinch a Job Interview - Asking Questions
The interviewer raised her head from the notes she had just taken. It had been her penultimate question. She raised the final question, hoping to see a spark of enthusiasm, interest and knowledge of the industry "Thank you. Now, do you have any questions for us?" After a short pause, the candidate replied "No, I can't think of anything thank you." Interviewer and candidate rose; they shook hands and the candidate departed, quietly confident that he had answered well. The interviewer sat back down and mentally crossed him off the list, thinking to herself 'not dynamic enough and poorly prepared'.
It is pretty much certain that at some stage during an interview, normally at the end, you will be asked if you have any questions you would like to ask. A poorly prepared interviewee will most likely pass up the opportunity saying that they have had all the information they need during the interview process. If you are given the chance to question the interviewer (or interview panel either individually or collectively) then take it. If they do not provide the opportunity then take the initiative yourself and ask them if you can ask some questions about the post.
The problem is then what to ask. It is probably advisable to avoid questions about money and perks as that could give the impression that you are more interested about what you can get from the company rather than how you will contribute.
Good questions relate to how the role will develop since that shows that you are interested in a long term stay at the company. For example the question 'will my roles be limited to those described in the job specification' is especially relevant if the job is a new post. It will give you an idea if the company has a clear idea about the duties of the new post. Another good one is to ask why the post was created and perhaps what strategic goals they have for the post, which would achieve the same from your point of view. You could also ask about promotion and training opportunities.
To show you know the industry and are up to date, you could ask about the performance of the latest product if one has been recently released or, if it is relevant, how the company will be responding to any recent developments in the industry.
In order to engage more personally and strengthen your relationship with the interviewer, you could ask him or her when they started with the company and why they have stayed. It can also give you an insight into the company ethos. Along the same lines, you could ask about company social events or whether there is a lot of out of office socialisation amongst staff. That can show that you are interested in integrating with people from other departments and would indicate that you would be a good team player with links to people from around the company. From your perspective, it would speak volumes about the company and how satisfying working for them might be.
Finally, you may find that some of your questions are pre-empted or even asked of you so make sure that you prepare several so that you are sure to have something in reserve.
Don't miss this great opportunity to really shine in the interview - asking carefully prepared questions will reinforce that you are a dynamic candidate who knows the industry very well and will fit in with the company.
About the Author: Duncan Watt