Questions to ask in an interview

Having questions to ask your interviewers heightens their interest in you and also indicates your interest in the company. On the other hand, asking questions allows you to understand the company better and sometimes, even realise that it is not the one for you. At the same time, however, you would not want to harass the interviewer with too many questions.

So what to ask, you ask? Here's a list of questions you may ask interviewers towards the end of the interview.

1. What are the essential qualities and skills you look for the person filling in this position? Are there any improvements you would like to see made?

Match the qualities and skills required to those you possess currently. Are they qualities and skills that you can be trained to have and/or wish to possess? If not, you may want to do some research and studying before taking up the job, or you may even want to reconsider this application.

Also, knowing what your predecessor has done or not done helps you to decide whether or not to take the job up if you are offered. Besides, it is always good to be prepared for what is expected of you, fulfill it and even exceed expectations.

2. How would you describe your company culture?

Having an idea of your work environment allows you to prepare yourself mentally before you report for work, be aware of the to do's or not to do's such as unspoken taboos and 'who's with who', as well as how formal or not you should dress.

From the interviewers' reply, you can also find out their position whether he or she is a HR recruiter that hardly even knows anything about your actual work or a direct superior at your new job.

3. What's your management style and preferred communication style? (If interviewer is direct superior or employer)

Your boss is one important person. He is who assesses your work, gives you job and learning opportunities, as well as who decides whether you get promoted or not. Can you handle the authoritarian style or the laissez- faire style? Some bosses have to travel very often and may only be reached via email, which can be a frustrating mode of communication for some. Decide if you can adapt his or her style, or be prepared to try.

4. Who are the people I will be working closely with? Is there training provided?

Get to know if you this is a position that requires independence or close working relationships with others. Also, how many direct and indirect supervisors you will have. Will there be mentors whom you can learn from? Again, decide for yourself if this is something you want or can tolerate.

5. Is this a new position or a replacement for a previous employee? What made the company decide to establish this new position?

Understand why the company decides to open a new position instead of using an existing employee and know the expectations such as new plans for the future with new skills and capabilities required. It is especially risky for you to join a company without a good idea of what they want or expect for such new positions, and it may be detrimental to your future plans. This is also a chance for you to find out what you can learn in this new position.

If it is an old position, it will be good to understand why your predecessor left to avoid following in his footsteps. Did he quit or get promoted? How long did he stay for? Why?

6. How is job performance measured? How important is my work to the company?

Recognition is an important part of job satisfaction as well as to stay motivated. Some people require more tangible results while others are okay with being an invisible part of the production chain.

7. Is there anything else you need to know about me or you are unsure of?

This is an opportunity to clear any misunderstandings up, fill in any essential gaps or simply to beef up the interview by emphasizing how you fit with the essential requirements suggested in the first question.

8. When will you be making your decision?

It is good to know how or when roughly when they will be making their decision so that you may move on if not selected and leave no regrets accepting another job. Some companies do not inform failed applicants, especially if there are many interviewees.


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