5 questions you can ask at an interview

When you are in your interview and everything is going along nicely – it comes to the point where you are asked the question: ‘Do you have any questions?’

It is drummed into you that it looks ‘good’ if you have questions but sometimes, questions are just not coming to mind. Without your palms getting too sweaty and feeling the burning sensation seep up your neck, you can ease your mind with a few quick tips on simple yet effective questions to ask.

  1. Culture – what is the culture of the organisation like? This can move the conversation away from specifics about you and the role and focus more on the organisation itself. And will give you a good idea as the whether the culture fits in with your values or not.
  2. Ask to the person who is interviewing you – How did you get to your position today? This question is one of my favourites not only because I am super interested in peoples career journeys but it takes the question away from you and to the interviewer who starts talking about themselves, lets admit it, everyone loves to talk about themselves a little. It is also a great indication of whether they moved up in the organisation or new to the role giving you a big of background to your manager and the organisation.
  3. On a day-to-day basis, what are the tasks you will be performing? Generally in interviews they give you the high level ‘generalising’ tasks and not the nitty gritty. You could even ask of a percentage of how much of each task you will be performing. For example, 40% tender writing, 30% public relations and media management and 30% digital media. You may have previously assumed the tender writing was a small aspect to the role. This will give you a clear understanding of what the role actually entails – minimizing the surprises.
  4. The interview process / process from here / how many people are they interviewing. These questions are completely ok to ask. Majority of organisations are open with the fact to how many people they are interviewing and will tell you the process. You will then leave with a perfect understanding of what is next.
  5. Salary – the taboo topic. Again, completely ok to ask and gage the range. I would word it more so ‘what is the salary range’ so they don’t need to tell you an exact figure (this may also be based on your skills and experience). They may also turn it back into your court and ask what you are expecting or feel the role is worth. I answer this questions with: ‘I am currently earning XXX and feel that this role is an increase in responsibilities and developing my career therefore I would like to either match or increase that.’ They generally have an idea of what the role is worth and more so interested in what your salary is to see if you match the level of role. If you don’t feel comfortable saying what your current salary is, that is completely ok – I would word it more along the lines of what you expect the responsibilities and level of role would be worth.

Remember when you are in an interview stay focused on the questions at hand and think about how well you can articulate them. If they ask you a question and you don’t have experience in, that is ok – be honest and then give an example of something similar or how you are willing to learn and enjoy the challenge. Answer questions with examples of how you performed the task and the results it lead too. Be comfortable in your settings (although I know it can be very intimidating and nerve racking) sit back on your chair, sit upright and be confident and smile.

Be honest and be yourself.

Photo credit: Jodie Dobson