In an average lifetime, we will spend 90,000 hours at work. To state the obvious, that’s quite a large chunk of our time. Personal life experiences and family time can be limited, as we spend most of our week with our colleagues and managers.
So, why is it that most of us treat interviews as a one-way street? Employers aren’t the only ones assessing suitability, on the flip side, prospective employees are interviewing potential employers, assessing whether the role, company and culture fit with your own values and how it will benefit your life.
Asking the right questions in your interview, will help you to determine whether or not the opportunity is suited not only to your working ability, but also your quality of life.
Next time you go for an interview, ensure that you have a list of questions to ask. This not only allows you to determine whether this role and company are a fit for you, but it also shows the employer that you are inquisitive, keen to learn more and genuinely interested in the position.
The Top 11 Questions that YOU should be asking, are:
What’s the reason for this vacancy?
This is a very important question, for a number of reasons. Is it because the company is growing? Has someone been made redundant? Is it taking some of the workload off another employee? Is it purely because someone has been promoted or left the company? Each of these reasons has a backstory. If it’s a redundancy scenario, could the company be asking too much of someone? If they’re growing, this is great news. Here’s your chance to become part of a successful business. Just the way an employer would ask your reason for looking, you are entitled to know the reason for the vacancy.
What are the biggest challenges that I will face in this role?
Are you well-equipped enough to deal with these challenges? Is it a challenge you’ve overcome in the past, therefore, you’d know exactly where to start? Is it something that will require some team-work? Asking this will allow you to prepare for what’s around the corner.
What expectations do you have for someone starting this role, within three months of employment?
This is usually the probation period, so the first impression is vital. This question lets you know how likely you could be to fall at the first hurdle. Similar to the last question; is this feasible? Have you done it before? Are you armed with the knowledge and experience to achieve this?
What are the KPIs/How will I be measured?
Measures and KPIs are a key part of any position. Are these measures the same as what you’re used to? If there is anything additional, it’s good to have an understanding of how it is monitored and also, how strict the SOPs are at the company.
Why do you enjoy working at this company?
This might seem like one of those fluffy questions that you add into a Top 11 list to pad it out. Well, it isn’t. Asking the interviewer what they like about the company, will give you an insight into the company culture, how it is managed and the overall ethos of the business. As with any question, long pauses and hesitation can say more than a few words. However, you’ll find more often than not, you learn more about company incentives, team trips and other benefits of working there than you would find on a job description or website.
How would you describe the company culture?
The previous question may have given you an insight into this, however, company culture is very important. Especially in sectors such as Additive Manufacturing, an industry filled with SMEs and start-ups, where there is high team spirit within a close-knit group. This question also allows you to compare this potential new employer to your current one. If you’re part of a global enterprise, in a large team, will you feel comfortable in a company with a smaller head-count? Is it a leave early on a Friday and get to the local for some drinks kind of set-up? Or is it, we’ve got lots of projects and huge customer demand so we don’t have time to spare for chit-chat and team bonding activities? Either way, most people have a preference, so this is something worth assessing.
Are there any additional courses or training I will receive?
This is dependent on the role, of course. However, training and personal development is a key requirement for a lot of people and is always an additional benefit. Whether the training is internal, or external and paid for, it not only helps you to get the most from your job but also allows you to transfer your knowledge to others in the business.
Who do you consider your number one competitor and why?
Again, this question is dependent on how well-known the company is within the market. If it’s easy to find, public knowledge then best to leave it out; you don’t want to look like you’ve been living under a rock. However, if it’s a smaller company, relatively young and still finding its feet, this is a great question to ask. It’s showing them that you are aware of the market as a whole, and not concerned solely with the internal happenings of the business.
What progression opportunities are there in this role?
This is a key question for most people and one that employers are probably used to being asked; so much so that they usually would tell you straight off the bat in the main part of the interview. However, if they’ve left this information out, then get it out on the table. Lack of progression, self-development opportunities, and unrealistic goals are some of the main reasons people leave their job. How is this company going to retain you and your experience? The answer will, of course, be dependent on the size and age of the company. A start-up is perhaps more concerned with getting their product to market and making a success of it before they start thinking about who is going to step up as the next CEO. However, it’s worth understanding if the company has a progression plan for you and the other staff.
What is your onboarding process?
Companies that have a thorough onboarding process are more likely to see their new employee stick around. If you’re given the support, tools, and monitoring you need to make your first few months at the company a success, then this is already showing a great amount of time and effort the company is investing in you; and who doesn’t want to feel supported? Onboarding not only integrates you into your daily working routine but also with the wider business. Again, onboarding is likely not to be a top priority for a start-up or SME, but for Global organizations, with a headcount of 500+ people, it would be expected that they have an onboarding process for you.
What are the next steps/when should I expect to receive feedback?
Out of all the questions, this one is most likely to be asked, and for good reason. Recruitment for a lot of companies is time-consuming, taking key people out of their working day, where they’re trying to find a spare minute to assess candidates and give feedback. However, if the role is business-critical your feedback should really be the top priority. Asking them when you should expect to receive it, allows you to understand when it’s time to pick the phone up. If they say within the next 48 hours but you haven’t heard within this time period, yes, you’ll need to chase. Whether it’s through a Head-hunter or directly, getting timely feedback is important. The longer it’s left, the less likely it is that your feedback will be detailed and constructive. Also, ensure that you are honest about whether or not you have other interviews ongoing… if the company really wants you, they’ll need to be quick!
So, that concludes the questions that we suggest you ask in your interview. If you have any questions for us or would like to know more, please call in on +44(0)1247 268273.