UNIQUE AND KILLER QUESTIONS TO ASK AT THE END OF YOUR FIRST INTERVIEW
So, you’ve sailed through the initial interview and you’re nearing the point where the interviewer or panel ask if you have any questions.
Of course, the answer is “yes” but the questions you really want to ask about things like salary and perks are not going to help you towards your main goal – getting through to the second interview.
The questions you ask are your final chance to give a prospective employer more reasons to see you as the stand-out candidate.
The ground rules of a job interview
But, before we look at some killer questions let’s look at the ground rules:
1. Two questions is the optimum number. If you ask just one, it seems like a token effort. If you ask three, you might overstay your welcome. Of course, intelligent supplementary questions based on the interviewer’s responses are great.
2. They say there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers but, believe me, in the context of a job interview there are some questions you should avoid like the plague.
- Anything that you would know the answer to if you had spent just 5 minutes looking at the company’s website (you obviously haven’t done your homework).
- Anything you’ve heard in the news or from current/past employees that reflects badly on the company (nobody likes being reminded of their problems – you’ve heard the expression “shoot the messenger”).
- Closed questions i.e. anything that only requires a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer (you will come over as having wasted an opportunity to learn more about the company).
- As mentioned before, salary and benefits should be saved for a later stage of the process (you don’t want to be seen as only motivated by money).
- Questions that the interviewer might perceive as too personal. “What do you like about working here?” is fine providing you don’t come across as trying to be too cute.
3. The onus is on you to indicate that you have reached the end of your questions by saying something like, “Thank you, that’s very clear. No more questions.” There is nothing worse than an awkward silence where the interviewer is waiting to see if you have finished. Taking the initiative like this also illustrates that you have the confidence to steer a meeting.
Your job interview question bank
So, that’s the ground rules out of the way. Now let’s look at a few questions that will gain your kudos in the eyes of the interviewer.
I mentioned you should ask two questions, but you need to prepare more – a bank of five or six questions from which you can choose depending on the direction of the interview and what has already been covered.
When thinking about killer questions to ask, it’s useful to focus on what a job interview is actually for. In essence, it is about finding a solution to a problem. The company has a problem – they need to find somebody to fill a position – and, hopefully, that solution is you.
So, if you ask questions about solutions, growth and success you are ticking a lot of boxes in the mind of the interviewer. Any two of the following questions should mark you out as a prime candidate for the shortlist. (But, please, don’t be lazy and copy out the questions below and repeat them like a robot. You could easily be caught with a counter question..Do some research and adapt them for the position you are applying for):
- What challenges facing the department would I be able to help overcome?
- In what ways do you measure and review employee performance? or
- Could you tell me a little bit about your review process and what values matter most to you? or
- In what ways does this department contribute to the success of the company? or
- Is there much overlap between this department and (XYZ) department?
- Could you outline what my career path with you could look like? or
- Do you have a very clearly mapped out promotion pathway?
- What kinds of training opportunities do you offer to staff? or
- In what ways do you encourage personal development among your employees?
- What is the best thing about working at your company? or
- I noticed all the people I met here seem very positive and happy. What is it in your company culture that creates this atmosphere?
All positive questions that imply you want to grow and succeed hand-in-hand with the company should pump-up your interview scoring and place you in an preferential position for the next round if your interview performance has been consistently good.
Why not been proactive and starting preparing for your next interview well before it happens ? Need advice or consultation on ways to brush up on your technique? Register with us! Is completely free and you can take advantage of our Candidate Care services among all other benefits.
This post was written by HR guest blogger ,Martin Luxton for People Place.
Martin Luxton is a Presentation Trainer and Freelance Writer with a solid background experience in English Teaching and as KET/PET Cambridge Examiner. Martin contributes on regular basis to our Media Hub with top articles in the field of HR and Communications. To follow Martin blogging articles you can subscribe by clicking the box on your right or register with us.