The most relaxing part of the interviewing process is generally at the end of an interview when the interviewer askes the interviewee “Would you like to ask us any questions?” Many interviewees skip over this very important question and treat it more as a pleasantry. However it is far from being a pleasantry and can potentially become a minefield, where great candidates find themselves falling at the last hurdle, by not asking the right questions.
Five questions which should be asked at the end of an interview are as follows:
Question 1: How would you describe the culture of your organisation?
At this stage of the interview you have hopefully proven to the interviewer that you can do the job and that you are willing to do the job but you need to prove to yourself that you will fit into the culture of the organisation, the third piece of this important jigsaw for both interviewers and those being interviewed.
Question 2: Is this a new position/why has the position become available?
This is a great question to find out more about the culture of the organisation. Was there acrimony between the last person who held this position and management and what was managements stance on the situation? You can often determine whether your potential employer has realistic expectations and whether the company is in growth mode with satisfied enthusiastic employees who will get rapidly promoted if they perform. Listen carefully to the answer to this question and take note if the interviewer’s body language is consistent with what he/she is saying.
Question 3: What would my objectives be for the first six months?
The answer to the above question will give a good indication if your potential employer has realistic expectations of the position and whether there is a divergence between your interpretation of the position and the employers’ interpretation. It is also a good opportunity for you to expand on your strengths and re-emphasise what you can bring to the organisation by focussing on the value you can add to their current offerings.
Question 4: How would you describe the strengths of your current team?
Again this is a very culturally aware question and you can easily determine if the strengths you bring to the table are different to or consistent with the team you could be joining. This is an ideal opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from the rest of the team by presenting a number of strengths where a gap exists, thus re-affirming in the interviewers mind that you can really add value to the organisation.
Question 5: What do you see that will be important for the company in the next five years?
This is a great question which shows to the interviewer that you take a long term strategic view of the position and are truly interested in the future strategy and wellbeing of the company you may be joining.
There are numerous good questions that one can ask at the end of an interview. Above are just a few examples of what I consider great questions. Consider carefully the questions you are going to ask as this can prove to be a “make” or “break” moment in terms of your career progression.