If you’ve just graduated and have started doing the whole job search business, you may be worrying about how to conduct yourself in a job interview. Obviously, you want to make as good impression as possible; so you do your research, makes notes, choose your best attire, and get the interview punctually, with optimism and enthusiasm.
However, it is important not just to be able to answer interview questions well; it is also vital to have a conversation. The interviewers will also want to gauge your suitability for the role based on what you ask them. And, of course, if you want to find out whether this is the job or company for you, then you should want to find out as much as possible.
There’s nothing worse than finishing a comfortable interview, feeling confident, only to be asked, “Do you have any questions for us?” and you realise, Oh, actually I have no idea what to ask!
So here are three questions to keep in mind when you get to this final part of the interview.
1. “What do you enjoy the most about working here?”
Not all interviewers will expect this question. It may even be the first time they’ve seriously considered the answer to it. The aim, though, is not to throw the interviewers off with the question, but to get a sense of what the best aspects of the work culture are.
You may get similar answers from two interviewers, which means that the benefits they’re describing can be appreciated by different people. Or, if they give different answers, then you may find out that there are many upsides to working for this particular company.
2. “What have previous [insert role] gone on to do?”
If you want to find out more about possible career progression, whether in that particular company or in general, then this is a great question to ask. You may be able to answer the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” in a thoughtful and authentic way, but you want to ensure that your career development goals are in line with the company’s expectations.
Maybe people doing your job end up doing the same thing, but at a more senior level. Or they take on a slightly different role, or a completely different role, or end up working for different companies in different industries. These answers may appeal to you or raise a red flag. But it’s crucial to know not just where you really want to be in five years, but where you actually could be.
3. “Is there anything that makes you doubt my suitability for the position?”
This is a bit of a risky question. If you ask it and they point out a potential weakness suggested by your application or interview answers, and it throws you off, then the interview could end on a pretty sour and awkward note.
However, if you are fully aware of your weaknesses, then this question could be your chance to really impress the interviewers. You may deliver a prepared or off the cuff answer about why you are passionate about the company or role and why this means that a lack of relevant experience won’t hinder you. Or you may try to rectify your fumbled or somewhat incoherent answer to a particular interview question and leave the interviewers feeling confident that you do know what you’re talking about and might have just been a bit nervous before!
If you ask a question that doesn’t matter to you, but you ask it because it sounds professional and think you should ask it, then your disinterest will be evident.
But if you care about doing a job that’s fulfilling, progressing in your career path, and improving yourself by honestly addressing your weaknesses, then you should include the above three questions in your job interview toolkit.