NO, a job interview is not a suspect cross-examination, it’s a two-way conversation that is commonly initiated by the interviewer, as a candidate, it is generally acceptable for you to ask questions never fear a single bit. When your turn comes, don’t shy away like you know everything about the job you are being interviewed for or the details about the company, put your interviewer to the task too.
Yes, during some interviews the “Do you have some questions” request pops but not always in case of the later, take the lead, politely ask them (your interviewers) “now it’s my turn, can I ask you a few questions too?”, cunningly add “am sure I won’t take a lot of your time”. Most interviewers however unfriendly will welcome this kind of boldness with great consideration and in fact, asking worthy questions during your interview will earn you more credibility as a candidate.
I have interviewed hundreds of candidates and it surprises me to realize that some candidates even if asked, don’t even have a single question or don’t know how to ask. Most candidates concentrate on selling themselves (telling who they are) to the interviewer but forget that the interviewer in most cases if not always has already gathered information about the interviewee from the CV or from a quick search on social media. So as a rule of thumbs, during an interview spend less time telling about yourself, more time explaining your value proposition (what you can bring to the table), and finally don’t forget to ask questions like the following and by the way, don’t simply ask for the sake, do it to your advantage;
1. What are the key performance indicators for this Job?
Because you are being interviewed, there is certainly a job to be done and every employer wants to hire the best performer isn’t it? So seek to understand what success looks like for someone to succeed in this role, the interviewer should tell you the measures of success. This will also prove that you take success seriously, never think that it was all laid out in the job announcement, some announcements don’t explain every detail.
2. Go on and ask what they expect of the person who will take the role in the first six months or first year.
3. What are the challenges likely to be faced when doing this job?
Jobs big or small, have some sort of hurdles along the way so, apart from signaling that you are already preparing to perform the job, your interviewer’s genuine answers to this question will also help you get a sneak peek into the internal politics and the role workflow.
4. What is a day, a week or a month like performing this job?
This question helps your interviewer know that you are someone organised and time conscious among others. Some job announcements will indicate the work schedule say part-time, full-time, regular, or following a shift system, etc. But sometimes these may change as the job may demand differently from time to time so talking about this will give you an overview of the job’s timelines. Some interviewers try to dodge this one by answering that it varies from month to month, counter that by asking them to give you an idea of what the last person in the same role had to do say in the last month they worked.
5. How long did the person am replacing stay at the job?
If it’s not a new role in the organization and you are replacing someone who left the organization, finding out how long your predecessor served will help you glance into the turnover for the position and if the interviewer can be honest enough to let you know why your predecessor left, it can help you evaluate whether you can endure what they failed to.
6. What is the company culture here, what is it like working here?
Organizations have varying ethos, philosophies or notions, try to find out how it’s done there. Here you will know about their organizational style is it very formal or a more relaxed environment, either way, you will be able to know a little more about what you might be getting into before you make a final decision.
7. How do you find it working here?
This is a good one because it compels the interviewer to give their version of the story and most times they will get emotional and unknowingly share their true perception. Someone happy working there will always have lots of good things to tell you and the opposite is true.
8. Certainly don’t forget to ask what the next step is.
This will help you know when you should hear from your interviewer to avoid a situation of having to wait indefinitely. If they promised to get back to you in a week and now it’s two, it’s right to write to them and find out if they have changed the schedule also highlighting your keen interest in the role and your willingness to talk more.
9. Ask anything that matters to you?
The list of possible questions is endless but as you ask these questions remember to be bold but not insistent or persistent. Remember that during the interview it’s mostly about the job, not you, not your family - sorry to say but that’s what most employers want to hear therefore try to center your questions on that.
Did i leave out something? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments, and if this advice ever helps you at your interview we would love to know.