Some people are so focused on answering the questions when they're in a job interview that they forget that it’s important to also ask questions. It gives you the best opportunity to learn about the company from someone who works there – this is invaluable when it comes time to decide if it’s a business you’d like to work for.
Moreover, if you ask the right questions in the right way, you can further cement the idea in the interviewers mind that you’re the best person for the job. Here are some suggested questions you should think about asking in your next job interview:
- Career development. It’s important to show that you’re ambitious, so don’t be afraid to ask about what kind of prospects there are for career development and progression.
1. How do you measure success in this job?
2. Does your organisation look to promote from within?
- Work life balance. Employers generally prefer well-rounded employees, so talk about some of your interests outside of work and ask whether – and if so how much – the employment arrangements will interfere with these.
1. Is there any travel involved with this position?
2. What hours are typically worked in a week for someone successful in this job? Is overtime expected or accepted?
- Management. It’s important to understand the management structure of the workplace before you start. It will provide an insight into how the business operates and, if you have aspirations to one day be in a management position, it will give you an idea of what you need to achieve to get there.
1. Could you briefly explain your management structure to me?
2. Does management take a hands-on or hands-off approach to managing employees?
- Benefits & perks. It’s much easier to negotiate benefits and perks before you accept the job because you’ll still have some leverage to seek the best deal possible for yourself. Similarly, ironing all these problems out before you start helps avoid potential problems down the track.
1. Are employees entitled to take their annual leave whenever they like, or are there periods of enforced leave (i.e. around Christmas)?
2. When, and how often, will I receive a performance review? And will this involve discussions on a salary review as well?
- Diversity & equal opportunity. Demonstrate that you have certain values that you hope are reflected in the company’s policies.
1. Do you have an internal equal opportunity, discrimination and workplace harassment policy?
2. Do you have an affirmative action policy?
- Working environment. If you’re successful you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the new workplace. Before you accept the job is the best time to establish whether it’s the kind of environment you’re going to be comfortable and thrive in.
1. How long do people usually stay in this organisation for?
2. How many people have joined/left the department this year? (This will give you a sense if the business is growing or, conversely, if it’s a tough place to work at)
These questions are just a suggestion - some may be appropriate for the position you’re applying for, while others may not be. Just remember, the questions you ask can be just as important as those you answer.
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It’s much easier to negotiate benefits and perks before you accept the job because you'll still have some leverage to seek the best deal possible for yourself.