Written by Dave Cullen
During interviews, so many candidates still make the fatal mistake of not bothering to ask the interviewer any questions about the organisation. “Do you have any questions for me?” – Unfortunately this is all too often misinterpreted as simply a cue to wrap up the interview. For the interviewer, your response will potentially reveal a great deal about you and also determine your suitability for the role.
This portion of the interview is a chance to demonstrate your critical thinking by asking well thought out and insightful questions. A candidate who fails to take advantage of this opportunity will be perceived as being inexperienced, ambivalent and not particularly astute. As we have previously discussed in the article: “5 questions to ask in a job interview”, employers appreciate a candidate with an inquisitive mind. However an interview is not all about the candidate selling themselves to an employer, it’s a two-way street where the employer must also showcase what they can offer the candidate.
Accepting a job offer is about agreeing to invest a considerable amount of your life within an organisation, you should therefore try to learn as much as you can about your potential future employer. Below is a list of the 4 most important things you should try to learn about a company during an interview.
Company Culture: In order to gain an insight into what it’s like to work for the company, ask the interviewer how they would describe the company culture. It will provide you with an understanding of the expectations of the employer. You will also gain an appreciation of the values and ethos of the business.
Challenges facing the Business: Demonstrate your interest in the company and your awareness of the industry in which they operate, by asking what challenges and threats they are currently facing. This may include discussion about the volatility of the marketplace or the impact of competitors, regardless; it will help to improve your understanding of how best you can contribute to the business.
Corporate social responsibilities: Similarly to the ‘company culture’ question, asking about what kinds of philanthropic and charitable work the company participates in will help to identify what they consider to be important.
Management style: Understanding the day-to-day standards and practices of the business is perhaps one of the best ways to determine whether the company will be a good fit for you or not. Candidates who ask about management style can gain invaluable information about what matters most to the business. If the interviewer is reluctant to go into detail about the style of management in operation, this could be a warning sign about possible problems within the company hierarchy.