Imagine that you are going to give a job interview for your dream job but you need to make sure that you are going to work for the right organization. You would want this job to not only help you finally complete your dream but also help you progress in your career while also ensuring you make informed decisions that would align with your long-term goals and aspirations. Therefore you would need to ask the employer questions in order to know more about the organization and check if their goals align with yours. But is it okay to ask questions to the employer during an interview? If yes when, how, and what questions would you ask them? This article delves into and answers all of your above queries.
Can One Ask the Interviewer Questions when Giving an Interview?
Of course, you can ask questions to interview in fact it is advisable to do so to get clarity and seem impressive and interested in working with the organization. In many organizations, it is also a common practice to ask the prospective employee at the end of the interview if they have any doubts or questions for the organization that they want to clarify.
Is it Necessary to Ask Questions to the Employer?
It is not as necessary as it is advisable for the candidate to ask questions in an interview. Interviews are two-way processes that require gathering information from both sides. Therefore it is important to take time to prepare questions to ask to get better clarity on one’s roles and responsibilities in the prospective job in order to give the best outcomes and elevate one’s chance to acquire the job permanently.
Furthermore, the major reason to ask questions in an interview as mentioned above is that it shows that it makes a good impression and also shows that you are interested and invested in the organization. Asking deeper questions related to the organization’s goals and achievements also shows that you are well-researched and have good knowledge about the organization portraying your commitment to invest your time in gaining knowledge about the organization.
Next, it even helps you understand if your future goals align with the company’s future goals and if both you and the organization can help each other progress and achieve your respective goals.
Hence it is genuinely recommended to ask questions in an interview to gain insights regarding your interests and goal alignments and also help you gather information to understand if you are fit for the job or vice versa, making it a significant part of the process while as an additional benefit also creating a positive impression in the interviewer’s mind.
When do you Ask Questions and How Many Questions Can You Ask an Employer in an Interview?
Generally, questions are asked at the end of the interview when the employer poses the question asking if you have any questions. At this point, you would be expected to clarify any doubts and get your questions answered to get a good idea about the organization, your roles, and responsibilities and to finally make up your mind if you would want to go ahead with this job from your side.
As for the number of questions you could prepare around three to five questions to ask the interviewer. Being on the higher end of this amount is good as some of your questions could be answered during your interview and therefore having backups would be helpful. You could ask more if you wish to have better clarification during the interview itself, but keep in mind to not ask too many unnecessary questions which could have been avoided, researched on the internet, or asked afterward.
How to Ask Good Questions and Make an Impact on the Employer Even During Your Doubt Session
During this stage of the interview, you need to be ready with some questions to ask based on your observations. Remember to often expect getting into this and be prepared so that you are not caught off-guard.
Know More About the Organization
This session is an opportunity to get to know more about the organization and assess it. So here you could frame questions based on what you wish to know about the organization and clarify based on what you researched and what you learned before in the interview. Therefore you could make this one of the aspects of asking good questions.
Squeeze in Your Self Remarks
Secondly, you could also make this an opportunity to add a good remark about yourself as to why you are fit for the given job. For instance, you could say “Before I ask you questions I want to state something, may I?” following this you could add an important message about your suitability that you want the employer to make a note of.
Instead of using questions that are very common which the interviewer might have heard several times that day, tailor your questions such that they apply to how you would specifically experience things around your workplace as per your role and position. For example, a generic question would be “What would a usual day in this organization look like?”, whereas a question that pertains to you would look like “What would a day for me with this role in this organization look like?”. This could enable the hiring staff to provide a more specific answer (which would be better and easier to give than a generic one) along with facilitating the interviewer to start visualizing you in that position (which then according to career strategist John Lees would be difficult to let go of that visualization).
Conversation Based on Observation
As mentioned before multiple times you can ask questions based on what you got to know about so far. Any doubts, realizations, or queries that you had mid-interview can be resolved here at the end. Additionally, asking questions based on your prior conversation in the interview also portrays that you were actively listening to what the interviewer had to say while also having the urge to learn more about the organization and its projects and goals; thus giving off a good impression from your side.
Knowing how to ask good questions would always come in handy as even if the interview turns out to be different than what you expected, you would know how to frame questions out of it.
7 Must-Ask Questions to Your Potential Employer When Giving an Interview
You can ask several questions based on your queries and what information you need to acquire; however, if you are not sure of what questions to ask you can ask from these questions. This would help you learn more about the organization, its environment and work culture, your roles and responsibilities in it, and the thoughts of employees working there. These questions include:
1. What opportunities will I have here to help me grow and progress in my professional life?
It is important for you to know how getting the job at this organization would help you boost your career growth and help you develop professionally and what would the organization do differently to help you for the same. This will also help you know if there is a career path that would make you feel excited to look forward to while also deciding on employee engagement as well as job satisfaction that you would have in this organization.
2. What would I need to do in order to impress you in the first three months?
Despite this question making you seem like a sycophant it would also portray to the interviewer/employer that you are passionate about making a positive contribution to the progress of the organization. You’ll need to remember very clearly as here you will get to know how the employer needs you to perform while they would also specify the aspects that they would want you to focus on.
3. Where does the organization see itself in the next 5 years?
Here you can understand the long-term plans of the organization along with its place in the future market and also get to know whether they align with your future goals thus taking you into the aspect of job satisfaction and security. Additionally, this would also make you aware of the organization’s upcoming projects while also re-emphasizing your commitment to the organization.
4. Could you please tell me more about the work culture in this organization?
You could ask about the work culture of the organization framing a question in this way if you have already researched a bit about their work culture (which may look impressive) or else if you have not you could simply ask for information regarding that.
The answer to this question would help you evaluate the workspace or environment of the said organization and give you a rough idea of whether or not you would belong.
The response to this question would also play a great role in determining job satisfaction as well as employee engagement in the organization as it would reveal the work-life balance of the employee, amenities given to employees, taking employee opinions into account, etc.
However, you need to also make sure to do some self-research on the work culture as no hiring staff would ever bad mouth their work culture to a prospective employee.
5. What are some of the challenges that I would face after taking up this job position?
Here you would get to know all the information that one wouldn’t generally add in the job description (like the office politics that you will have to handle, or working with a difficult person, etc.). Furthermore, asking this question could also show that you are aware that you’ll have to face challenges. Simultaneously, you are portraying that you aim to prepare yourself well in advance to efficaciously face and handle them in the future and hence asking prior.
If you learn that you have faced some challenges before and effectively resolved them, this could be a good opportunity to mention that (although don’t ask this question just to do the above!).
6. What is the turnover duration of this job position like? And for what duration was the preceding person in this position?
This question would indirectly inform you on how the person in this position is treated. For instance, if the turnover rate for the majority of the employees in this role is less than a year then maybe there is an issue from the organization’s side (an unpleasant supervisor, unreasonable expectations, toxic work environment, etc.). Thus you need to further investigate and ask the interviewer about the reason for this pattern. However, if it’s a new position introduced a while ago you can ask about the turnover of the team or department that’s connected to this job position.
7. What do you find appealing about working or what is your motivation to work here?
This one can help you tacitly learn about the true work culture of the organization as the interviewer would give a more personal answer rather than talking on behalf of the organization.
As a bonus, it would also help you connect or build a bond with the interviewer by creating a sense of comradeship.
If they genuinely have a sense of job satisfaction they would be able to come up with a lot of things that they like working at the organization while sounding quite genuine. However, if they cannot come up with even two things even after giving a long time to respond or answer with some materialistic benefit, one could consider them to not be satisfied with their job or have an unpleasant work environment.
One can also several questions specifically based on what one wants to know or understand. For instance, one can questions based on the organization’s culture, profile, and beliefs on the history of the job position or employer expectations. You can learn more about these specific information retrieval-based questions through our article 50 Clever Questions To Ask An Employer During Interview.
What are the Questions that You Should Avoid Asking the Employer in a Job Interview?
Along with knowing what to ask you should also be aware of what questions to avoid in an interview with the employer or hiring staff as it could create a bad impression from your side. Some of these topics that are advisable to avoid include questions like
1. Avoid Researchable and Obvious Questions
Do not ask questions that have obvious answers or could have been answered through minimal research. This will create an impression in the interviewer’s mind that you haven’t done any prior research to learn about the company further portraying your lack of interest and commitment towards the organization.
2. Avoid Asking for Paid Leave Benefits so Early
Do not ask about topics like paid leave policies so early in the process, start working first and enquire about that after a few weeks or rather better option is to ask your colleagues about it.
3. Reserve Promotion Talk for Later Stages
Likewise, avoid asking about how quickly you would be promoted in the organization this early, wait a few months, show your skills, and when you have a good performance to show then you can pop up the question about promotion aspects or ask for an increase in salary (watch the video below for reference to help you negotiate a higher salary effectively if you are planning to do so)
4. Don’t Confirm Gossip
Refrain from confirming the gossip that you have heard about the organization, it seems unprofessional as well as insulting to the organization.
5. Avoid Getting Too Personal
It is good to create a sense of camaraderie with the interviewer but avoid getting too personal with them and asking them personal questions, it may make them feel uncomfortable to continue the interview around you and also create an unpleasant impression of you in their mind which may further affect the chances of you getting the position.
Asking questions to interviewers in a job interview is also a significant aspect of the interview and is a great opportunity that you should not squander. While it’s an opportunity to gain more knowledge about the organization that you wish to work in, it is also a chance to impress the interviewer through your intellectual questioning (portraying your research skills) and illustrating your commitment to learning more about the organization. Along with the above, it also helps you clarify your doubts and queries to help you understand whether working in a particular organization is a perfect fit for you or not. Also, remember to be respectful of the interviewer’s time when you ask questions! Asking the right questions would help you to have a clear and confident professional journey in the organization.
After you are done with the interview, you could send the interviewer a thank you email to show your gratitude, while also keep the interviewer reminded of your interview and can also improve your chances of securing the position. Hence to know more about thank you emails you can refer to our article Professional “Thank You” Email Subject Lines After Your Interview (With Examples).
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