When we’re preparing for interviews most of us focus on the best way to answer a potential employer’s questions about our skills and experiences. However, always comes a time at the end of interviews when candidates are invited to ask a question of their own. This is an opportunity not to be wasted. The right questions will create a good impression, ensure an employer knows you’re interested, as well as eliciting information that could be useful to your own decision-making processes. So, which are the right questions to ask?
“What are your expectations for the first 30 days?”
You can opt for 30 days, 90 days or a year here – the point is that you’re demonstrating that you’re engaging with your potential future in the business. You’ll be able to get a realistic idea of what’s likely to be expected of you now and in the near future. Also, you’ll have the opportunity to highlight ways in which you could bring something to the role over and above what the employer might be expecting.
“How would you describe the culture of the company?”
This kind of question is always interesting because you’re asking an employer to come up with an ad hoc answer, which is inevitably more insightful than anything pre-prepared. By asking the question you’re showing emotional intelligence – that you understand there’s more to any role than simply ticking the task boxes. It demonstrates your interest in the people within the business, how it’s got to where it is, as well as where it’s likely to go next. You’ll also be able to get more information on crucial details, such as office wear, benefits and whether you’re potentially joining a very sociable or very serious environment.
“Who is the ideal candidate for this role and how do I compare?”
Only opt for this question if you can handle the fact that the answer may pull no punches. If you’re brave enough to ask this then you’ll find out right away whether there is interest in you as a candidate. Most employers won’t expect this kind of question so you’ll have the advantage of an element of surprise – which often means more transparency. Plus, you’ll be able to establish if there are any holes in your skills and experience that need work.
“What are the biggest challenges facing your business right now?”
You should already have demonstrated some knowledge of the market your potential employer operates in. However, it doesn’t hurt to then follow that up with this question, which shows a real engagement with the future of the business. Enthusiasm is a key element in successful job interviews, as well as showing a genuine passion for the business and its future. If you’re asking about the challenges your potential employer faces then you’re likely to come across as someone who might also be useful in helping to overcome them.