A job interview is an opportunity to look into the company you are applying for and find out if it’s really the place you’d like to work. Many candidates think of interviews as one sided considering that only the interviewers have the right to ask questions. Well, this is not the case at all. When going to an interview you need to prepared to ask questions too and most interviewers welcome and appreciate your questions because it shows you are really interested in the job and the organization.
Of course, the command is at the hands of the interviewer and you, as a candidate, would have to hand over control over directing the interview towards the direction that the organization prefers. In any case, you have to be prepared with questions because this would reflect a positive image to your interviewer. Coming with prepared information to the interview only reflects a detail-oriented job candidate who won’t leave anything at luck.
Timing is extremely important in regards to asking efficient questions during an interview. There is a proper time to ask questions having in mind that most interviews are coordinated to follow a set of questions that the Human Resource department has prepared for the particular position. This means that the interview is structured to have a flow and therefore, interrupting the flow of the interview with untimely questions will probably work against you rather than in your favor. It will cause the interviewer to lose time and it will slow down the whole process. On the contrary, it is more appropriate to wait and ask your questions after the interview is concluded. However, it makes perfect sense to ask for clarifications and ask your interviewer to provide further explanations so that you are sure you understand the question. This is perfectly appropriate and much appreciated as well because it facilitates interaction between you and the interviewer and shows you are a viable candidate for the job.
Of course, there are questions that need not to be asked.
*You cannot ask about the company’s policy on Columbus Day, but you may ask what a typical day is for an employee in the particular position. Company policies will be discussed after you are hired. However, getting information about a typical working day is appropriate and provides you with an idea of the amount of work you have to deal with on a daily basis as well as with whom you’re interacting.
*You cannot ask about family care programs or daycare programs. However, you may say that you have researched the organization and it came to your attention that they offer excellent incentive programs. If the company is ranked among the top companies for employee benefits/incentives, you may mention that. This will open the door for the interviewer to comment on the company’s incentives and provide further explanations. At the same time, it will show that you have researched the organization before coming to the interview.
*You cannot ask about working overtime. You may ask about your daily responsibilities and taking it from there you will be able to understand if extra time is required to finish off your job.
*You cannot ask if you are a good match for the position and the company. However, you may ask the interviewer what they like the most about working at this company. This will give you an idea about the company’s assets and if you are the right person for the position, the interviewer will enhance your idea with positive feedback.
*You cannot ask what it takes to become a manager. However, you may ask if there is room for advancement within the organization. Even if the conversation is casual, you have to keep it formal. Of course, asking about the potential for career advancement shows that you are thinking ahead, but you have to be modest about it.
*You cannot ask if they do micromanagement in the company. Instead you may ask about the management style. Even if you disliked your previous job you cannot take it out on your interviewer. First of all, they don’t care and second of all you will come off as a whiner who can easily turn into a problem employee. If you want to know about the management style, ask, but keep the past in the past.
Although it’s easy to deliver the right answers while on an interview, it may be tricky to ask the right questions. Yet, your questions are essential because they will help you establish how you fit within the organizational culture, while demonstrating your communication skills, interest in the job and knowledge of the company.