5 of the best questions to ask your interviewers
Why they are the best, and how to ask them effectively:
I’m amazed on a daily basis by people still seeing interviews as one-directional. Almost like a cricketer batting ball after ball, and trying to stay in the game, an interviewee sees an interview as a battle where they have to field question after question in the hopes of staying in the game (in the running for the job). The truth is, many interviewers, especially the gifted ones, learn way more about a candidate from the questions the candidate asks the interviewer. It can give him/her a more accurate indication of a candidate’s interest in the company, the job, ongoing projects and the colleagues that he/she would likely be working with. What amazes me, is how few job seekers prepare questions to ask the interviewer. They prepare, and sometimes over-prepare for likely questions an interviewer would ask them, but they don’t give much thought to what they want to ask the interviewer.
As part of our Jobzdojo training, we spend quite a bit of time on 'interview prepping'. There is so much you can do in preparation for interviews to get the most out of the opportunity, especially making a list of questions you could ask your interviewer.
Here is a list of 5 of the best questions to ask, and why they are the best:
- Why did you originally join the company?
The answer to this question is not as important as how it is answered.
This question is on the list because you can learn so much from it. You’ll instantly know if the interviewer likes the company, and you’ll be able to tell this from the answer, and most importantly, from his/her body language. Remember that! If you get the job, you’re likely to work with the interviewer, and you’d want to work with someone that is passionate about what they do, who they work with, and the company they work in. The best way to ask the question is with a smile, while leaning in with interest.
- If I am successful in securing this role, what projects can I get my hands on right away to add value?
This question not only shows enthusiasm, but also shows that you want to add value right from the start.
The best candidates in the market are always looking for new challenges, projects and/or ways to build on their careers, so knowing what projects you will be working on will help you decide if the company you’re interviewing with is the one you would want to join. Remember, there is a demand for great skills and experience, so you’re likely to have choices. This is a good question to leave for last, or second-to-last. If it’s the first question you ask, then there is a slight chance that the interviewer could view it as arrogant.
- How do you typically engage with your clients?
This could be internal or external clients.
You can tell a lot about a company from the way they work with their clients. The interviewer should have a clear and passionate answer to this question. If he/she “um’s” and “ah’s” when answering, then you might want to rethink joining the organization. Everyone in the company should know the answer to this question. There is never a wrong time to ask this question, as it is such an important one. The question should be asked in a friendly and matter-of-fact manner – you’re not the Spanish Inquisition.
- What do you like most about the company?
Again, the answer to this question is not as important as how it is answered.
This question normally helps to break the ice, and it also gives you an opportunity to find a common interest if you haven’t discovered one yet. The most effective way to ask this question is to ask it after a 'light humour' event – like after everyone had a bit of a chuckle about something.
- What is the most positive change that the business has gone through recently?
Is the business open to change?
I don’t know many people that want to work in an organization that’s not open to change. People want to be part of something exciting, especially if they can share in positive change events with others. This question is almost always effective when asked.
What every job seeker should remember is that an interview is a two-way conversation. It’s an opportunity for the interviewer to learn more about you as the candidate, and it’s an opportunity for you to learn more about the company and the people that work for the company. If you’re going to decide to work for a company, you would need to know if you’d get along with the people that work for the company, and that you have the potential for career growth as well, so why not ask a couple of questions that will help you understand the opportunity better?
There are a number of articles circulating at the moment that have some more examples of questions to ask your interviewer, so have a look at Forbes, Monster and US News.