What questions should you ask in an interview?
This is the fifth in a series of articles for young people aged 18-24 starting their careers after leaving full time education. The full series can be found at monarchpersonnel.com.
An interview is a two-way discussion. It’s as much an opportunity for you to find out about the company and the role, as it is for the company to find out about you. An appointment to a position would need to be a mutually good fit. So what should you be asking to get the insight you need?
Ask about the culture
It is essential that you understand the culture of the company and if it’s one you would feel comfortable in.
- The team: “What is the best thing for you about working for this organisation?”
Finding out what a potential colleague likes about an organisation will tell you much about the values of the team you will be joining.
- Staff turnover: “What is the average length of service in your department?”
This gives an indicator of employee satisfaction, and will either ring alarm bells or put you at ease.
- Company values: “What are the company’s values and why are they important to the organisation?”
A company should be very clear on its values and how they instil them, and you need to determine if they are values you share.
Ask what the company expects
- “How would you measure success in the first three months of the role?”
Understanding what is expected of you is essential in weighing up whether the role is for you. You also need to decide if the expectations are reasonable.
Ask about the team you will be joining
- “Can you tell me about the team I would be working with?”
This will give you an understanding of the size of the team, how they work together and how you might fit in.
- “What type of skills are missing from the team that you’re looking for in a new recruit?”
You need to be clear about why you would be brought in. Are you happy to fill that role? The answer might expose huge skill gaps which you may need to look into further.
- “Is this a newly created position? If not, why did the last person leave?”
If the position is new, it shows that the business is growing. If not, it's helpful to know why the previous incumbent left in case the reason causes you concern.
- “Who will I report to?”
If you’re still keen on the job by the end of the interview, you still have work to do. You should research the person you will be reporting to as this will be a key relationship in the role.
Ask about responsibilities
- “What does a typical day look like?”
You need to know that the day-to-day is something you’d enjoy.
- “How will I be trained?”
The training plan may be something they’re still working on, but you need be sure that full training will be given.
Ask about the company
- “Can you tell me how the company started?”
A potted history of a company tells you much about its progression, aspirations and vision.
- “What current goals and objectives is the company focused on?”
This will tell you what the future could look like and where you might fit in. You will also find out how ambitious the company is.
Ask about the recruitment process
- “What are the next steps in the interview process?”
You need to be prepared for the next stage. Asking this question also shows that you’re keen to be involved.
Of course, you need to decide which of the above questions are most important, and that will vary between applications. We wouldn’t suggest you ask them all as that might make you rather unpopular!
Leave the interview on a positive note
Make sure, before the interview finishes, that you leave a strong lasting impression. Here are a few things you can do:
- Be clear about how much you want the job (but don’t beg!)
- Remind the interviewer of one or two of your strengths that would be ideal for the role
- Leave the meeting politely
- Send a follow-up thank you email
Look out for the final article in this series, also to be published this week, when we will be preparing you for making a great impression on a video interview.
In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about Monarch Personnel, you can read our latest articles by subscribing to our newsletter . You can also follow us on our social media channels: LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook, or visit our website www.monarchpersonnel.com.