Unfortunately, many candidates see the job interview more like an inquiry than a discussion between equals. Consequently, they don’t ask any questions, assuming that their role is to answer questions and hopefully, get the job. This being the case, how can you be sure you actually want that job?
On the other hand, If I were to rephrase it from the recruiter’s perspective, several doubts can appear concerning your situation: “How could this candidate have a genuine interest on this job if he is not interested in finding out more about it?” or “If this candidate makes a decision regarding his career based mostly on assumptions, what other decisions does he make in the same way?” and so on.
Not only are you entitled to ask questions, but you are highly expected to do so. Asking questions helps you perform a more accurate appraisal of this job opportunity.
When the recruiter asks “Do you have any questions”, it’s high time for you to address them. Nevertheless, note that not any question puts you in a good light. Asking a question such as “what exactly does your company do?” puts you on the bottom of the list instantly. Before a job interview, it is mandatory for you to prepare. If one cannot spend thirty minutes preparing for an interview, he does not deserve the job.
You should also pay attention to what the interviewer says during your meeting. It’s needles to mention that asking a question already answered labels you as “not engaged in the conversation”. Nonetheless you can ask for clarification on certain issues.
You can find bellow 15 questions suggestions for questions you could ask in order to have a clearer sense of what having that job involves. Those can help you in building your own questions list, based on what it is important for you to know about your (probably) next job.
- What are the company’s values? How are they translated into actions? (Translate to yourself as „are those only on paper?”)
- How would you define your organizational culture?
- Can you help me understand your performance appraisal system? (When is your performance going to be appraised? By whom? On which criteria?)
- What is the average time an employee spends in a certain position? What are the opportunities for development?
- What are the traits and the skills of people who are the most successful within the organization?
- What are the opportunities for training? Does the organization support ongoing training for employees to stay up to date in their fields?
- What are the challenges this department (the one you are interviewing for) is facing?
- What is the structure of the department?
- How is this department perceived within the organization?
- What are the departments I would collaborate with in that position? How would you define the collaboration between this department and others?
- Can you describe a typical day for someone in this position?
- How do you see the ideal candidate for this position?
- When top performers leave the company why do they do it?
- What should be the top priority of the person who accepts this job?
- Do you have an onboarding programme? What does it involves?
Note that the more senior the position you are seeking, the more important it is to ask specific questions regarding the business strategy, present/future challenges, plans, development and so on. Connect interviewer’s answers with your previous experience and summarize how you had successfully coped with a similar situation.
Important: Unless you understand how its answer helps you, don’t ask a question. Don’t ask questions just because you are expected to.
To make a long story short: leave the interview with a clear image of the factors impacting your potential job both on short and long term.