Top questions to ask

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Workthing polled several recruitment firms on the top questions for candidates to ask at interview. Read on to find out which queries will stand you in good stead.

Top questions to ask
To find out about the company

Our advice is to ask lots of open-ended questions which would encourage the employer to talk, for example, 'What is the vision for the company?' and 'How would you describe the culture in the business?' You can also find out a lot about the company by directing questions to the interviewer in their capacity as an employee. For example: 'What attracted you (the interviewer) to join the company?' or 'How long have you been here and what has made you stay so long?' Ask for more information on the company. If you have secured financial statements, then ask for more information about them. Engage the interviewer in a discussion about them. It is important to do this even if the position is a non-financial one. It shows that you have keen business sense. Also, it shows that you're aware that the meeting involves two parties. Similarly, ask questions on the company's vision, mission statement, and strategy for the coming years.

(Office Team) In organisations with flatter structures, be careful when asking about promotion. A better way to tackle this would be 'how can you see the role developing?' Other questions to ask are: 'what circumstances have led you to be recruiting?' and 'how long do people stay in the role?'

(Working Careers) To find out about the role

Find out if there are consistencies between your ambitions and the direction of the job by asking, for example, what development opportunities there are in the role.

(Cooper Lomaz Recruitment) Examples of questions include:

1. I have read the job description, can you expand on the job I will be doing?

2. What type of training is provided?

3. How do you see me in the role?

4. Do you have performance targets?

5. How will I know that I am doing well?

6. What are team members achieving?

(Working Careers) It's important that you find out about the role in the wider context of the organisation. Asking questions about the organisation and the role will give you an idea of whether it is indeed the right job for you. Questions like: 'What will the scope for learning and development be?' and 'What are the opportunities for progression?' allow you to determine whether the job will take your career in the direction you have chosen for yourself. Questions like: 'What can you tell me about my boss?' and 'Can you tell me about the management/leadership style within the business?' should give you an idea of whether the organisation's values and the way it operates will suit you. It's important that candidates inform themselves about what they're letting themselves in for. Often people will see a job advertised, and think I'd love to work for that company, without knowing what the reality of life inside that company is like.

(Strategic Dimensions) To find out how well you've performed

I suggest that people ask for feedback at the end of the interview. For example, what's the next step in the hiring process, what sort of chance do I have, and so on. This shows that you're open-minded and mature enough to handle any criticism and advice. It also shows that you're mature enough to learn. Interviews have changed. It's not a secretive process anymore, where the company invites you in to screen you. It's now a transaction. Asking for feedback tells the interviewer that you see yourself as an equal party in a transaction.

(Office Team) You must always close the sales process, so ask 'how do you see me fitting in?' and 'what is the next step in the recruitment process?'

(Working Careers) To impress your potential employers

Ask questions that are focused on embodying your enthusiasm, as well as your willingness and ability like:

1. What is the team working on at the moment?

2. Can I meet the team?

3. Can I look around?

4. What are your strategies for growth?

5. How soon do you want an employee in place?

6. If there was one major achievement that you would like to see happen within the role from the outset, what would it be?

7. Can you describe what made the last person successful in this role?

8. What are the immediate improvements or priorities that need to be applied to this role?

9. What changes would you like to see in the way the job is performed?

10. To ensure I would be able to hit the ground running would you be able to supply any procedures, literature or other supporting information in preparation for my first day in the role?

(Working Careers)
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