We’re often told what to say, what not to say, what to wear, and even how to shake hands when going for a job interview.
But we don’t always focus on the questions we should be asking the prospective employer.
Personally, I can remember instances at the end of job interviews when the interviewer has asked me: “Well, do you have any questions?,” and I realise I’ve been so caught up in trying to impress that I’m lost for words.
To help with this scenario, we asked Gen George, founder of OneShift, for her advice on the best questions to ask an employer during a job interview.
“A job interview is a two way street. You are not there to be harassed with terrifying questions. You are there so the company, as well as yourself, can see how well you would fit the role,” she says.
“While you should be trying to impress your potential future employer, you also need to suss out whether this position is suited to you.”
Here are ten she thinks will help job hunters.
1. What is a typical day like in this position?
You want to have a good sense of what an average day is going to be like, how busy the day will be, your main and ad-hoc responsibilities, whether the work load will be too much of a challenge or not enough. It is important to ask yourself (and therefore the interviewer) whether you are looking for the sort of job role where no two days are the same, or if you would prefer a more predictable role.
2. How will you measure success in my role?
It is important to get a clear idea of what is expected of you and how you will be assessed. That way if you are successful in getting the job you know exactly what your employer is expecting for you to achieve and you can then aim to not only achieve, but exceed them.
3. Is there any room for advancement in this position?
Interviewers want to know whether you are looking to progress within the company or whether you are only interested in the job as a means of making money. This question shows ambition and where your professional loyalties will lie. By asking this question you are showing that you are pursuing this job for more than your bank balance, but rather to develop your own skills and to develop the (and within) company.
4. Where have successful people in this position progressed to in the past?
If you are looking to progress within the company then you need to be sure if this is a) possible and b) the timescale of this happening. It also shows initiative and that you are thinking ahead, rather than starting in a job and learning three years down the line that there is still no room for progression.
5. What type of training is available for the position?
This is crucial for 2 reasons: firstly, the interviewer will be impressed that you are interested in growing within the company and bettering yourself will in turn better the company. Secondly, a job is an opportunity to learn new skills and develop existing ones. It shows you are not going to be a passive employee, but are open (and want to) become the best version of yourself as an employee.
6. What is the company culture like?
Every company has their own culture and it is important to pre-empt whether you are going to fit in with the culture. Strong internal communication is key for effective and efficient teamwork. We have developed our own culture here at OneShift; we have a social get-together outside of the work building at least once a month, have a colorful and creative workspace, share ideas without fear of not being listened to and we celebrate each other’s achievements. Instilling a culture has encouraged effective team working and consistently sparks creativity and an easy working environment across departments.
7. What is the expected salary for this position?
Many avoid this question in fear that it could create an air of awkwardness, however it shows you are being realistic and that you care about your self-worth. Don’t sell yourself short. You want to make sure that you can still afford your monthly shopping sprees in Westfield. Equally, if the salary is a lot more than what you expected you want to ensure you can fulfill the role expected of you and not be overwhelmed.
8. What are the average office hours?
Getting an understanding on how the office operates is important. For example: our sales team start earlier and finish earlier, the development team start later and finish later. So getting an understanding of what your team does so you can adapt your schedule to this is key. Life of course gets in the way and will require some negotiations. It is better to be upfront with your potential employer about flexible hours you may require. For example: our UX designer picks up her child from daycare at 4:30pm each day and starts earlier than her team.
9. What are the next steps for the interview process?
This shows you are looking ahead, are proactive, and that you naturally look at the long-term goals. It also shows that you actually are passionate about the outcome of the interview and you haven’t just come along for ‘interview experience’ or to fill some spare time.
10. When will the final decision be made?
This will help you plan your time in case you have other interviews or current work commitments in the pipeline. It will also give you an idea of when you will receive the (good or bad) news.