So then – do you have any questions you would like to ask us?
For some reason this rather ordinary and reasonable question at the end of an interview seems to be a rabbit in the headlights moment for many candidates.
You know you have questions. One week ago when they invited you over you knew that you would be asked this question and here is that anticipated moment…….. and suddenly all is blank.
Okay let me begin with one simple thought - each and every second that you are at the interview from hello to goodbye is part of the selection process!
When I wrote the bit in bold above I was thinking does this calm the reader down or add to her/his fears further. However I think it is always better to know what you are up against (after all the creak under the stairs is far scarier than Frankenstein’s monster blundering around your garden) and so I add this to help you prepare for the moment – this important moment.
Let’s begin with the don’ts:
- How many days holiday/what is your sick-leave policy/what are the work hours etc are all reasonable questions on the face of it but in truth your interlocutor just hears your plans not to be working very hard if at all. So leave anything in this family of questions out of it please.
- The next don’t – and perhaps the most common: “Oh I think you’ve covered everything thankyou”. No they have not! As soon as you get in the car you will wonder why you have not asked this or that.
- Related to this is you asking a question that actually HAS been dealt with at the interview. Those close attention to detail and listening skills of yours are looking a thin boast now.
- Asking too many questions – your interviewer is on a schedule. She/he has not planned for the 30 minute interrogation you have prepared.
- Finally do give some thought to what could be seen as the fatuous/banal or the sort of question that could easily have been answered by some pre-interview research – “Could you tell me what you do here!”. Believe me when I say that or similar is not uncommon.
So onto the do’s:
- Yes I have a couple of questions if I may. The roles are now reversed. I have said before and will repeat over again without apology - this is a two way street. You are there to judge the future employer as much as they are there to judge a future employee.
- You are probably aware of the 6P’s – if not I will explain: proper preparation prevents p*** poor performance. So prepare. Do your research (dealt with in another post).
- Read the ad or any other documentation (see other post on this one) – be as clear as you can what it is you should know and what it is reasonable to say you do not know or do not know in enough detail.
- Work out what is missing and write it down on a pad – I will deal with this in another post.
- If you don’t have one of those to be envied memories for lots of details as the interview progresses make notes so you know when one of your questions has been answered partly or in full.
- If you don’t understand something that is fine. If it doesn’t feel right to ask at the moment when the subject is raised note it down for later. “You said earlier on that etc…. can I just clarify do you mean ….?”. This is a positive moment. You have listened and reacted positively to answer a gap in your knowledge. This bodes well for your candidature and actually underlines your afore-promised listening and attention to detail skills.
- DO ask something that is a statement of intent. What do I mean by that? Well just as asking about sick leave policy is your unstated plan to have time off asking about the future (training and development; the company’s business plans; new products/markets; career paths etc) is your unstated intention to be there and contributing with the investment of your commitment.
- Finally – unless it has been mentioned already – ask what the next stage is and your enthusiasm and wish to be involved (another post on this one soon).
There are a lot of variables to consider here so in conclusion – prepare, listen, ask and sell yourself by the quality of this end of the interview moment. It WILL happen.