Play your cards right, however, and the questions you ask could help propel you to the top of the interviewer’s shortlist. Try and have at least three really good questions prepared – here’s what to ask.
First of all, is there anything you’d like me to clarify or explain in more detail?
Interviewers are often so busy scribbling down what you say during the interview that they forget to ask you to clarify something or expand on a certain point. Asking this question gives them a chance to clear up anything that’s niggling them about you, including any doubts or misunderstandings.
Do you have any doubts about my ability to do this job?
This is a blunter way of asking the above question – but if you feel confident using it, their answers will basically give you a second chance to dispel any doubts and explain why you think you’d be perfect for the role. Don’t be defensive, though. Make sure you address any shortcomings head on (so prepare well beforehand about what your shortcomings might be).
What do you see as the priorities for this job in the first three months?
This allows the interviewer to go into more detail about what the post actually requires within the first couple of months. It’s a chance for you to agree (if appropriate), look enthusiastic and if possible even explain why those priorities are ideally suited to your background.
If I was given the job, how do you see the role evolving in five years time?
This is a great little question because it helps the interviewer envisage you personally in the role. As they explain how the role might develop over the next few years, they’re thinking about you developing alongside it.
How do you think the company might grow over the next five years?
This shows you’re serious about staying with the company and forging a career path. Interviewers generally like to hire people who they think can grow and develop with the company, so asking this question demonstrates you are willing.
What type of training opportunities do you offer?
Again, this shows you’re willing to update your skills to fit in with what the company needs – a great attitude if someone is going to be a real success.
Why has this job come up?
This gives you an opportunity to find out whether it’s a new post, or whether the previous person left, and why.
How does my role fit with the overall vision at your company?
Not only will the answer to this question give you another chance to outline exactly why you’d be perfect for the role, it also shows to the interviewer you are aware of the bigger picture and your part in it.
How will you measure my performance? How often?
This question is particularly good for roles that involve a lot of targets, such as sales or customer services. It signals to the interviewer that you are used to robust assessment measures and have no problem being measured against company goals. You expect it as part of the daily routine.
When will I hear about this job?
If you have other interviews in the pipeline, or even a job offer, now’s the time to mention it. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask when you might hear if you’ve been successful, but if you can let them know you’re in demand, even better.