Picture the scene: you’ve landed that coveted interview at your preferred company and — at least by your own reckoning — aced all of the questions put to you there. However, your interviewer then turns the tables on you by asking whether there are any questions you would like to ask them.
If you stumble at this point, you risk coming across as disinterested or disengaged, as warned in a Business Insider article. Therefore, you should have several questions ready in advance. The following lines of questioning can be particularly revelatory about the firm’s ingrained culture.
‘What soft skills would serve this position best?’
While the hard skills will already have been outlined in the job description, you should seek clarity on those skills that aren’t quite as clear-cut but could remain crucial to the job … and the company.
Once you know which of these soft skills the company especially prizes, you will have a trickle of insight into the company’s culture and management values. That’s important because you need to assess whether the company is the right fit for you, not just vice versa.
‘What do you most enjoy about your job?’
There’s something pretty genius about asking this question. It invites the interviewer to talk about themselves, which they are likely to relish doing.
It also sheds light on what goes on behind the scenes, allowing you to learn about things that could otherwise too easily elude your notice. Besides, the interviewer is likely to have an intimate knowledge of various aspects of the business; now’s the time to tap into that knowledge.
‘How well does the company meet its core values?’
Of course, in asking this question, you can indirectly learn what those core values actually are. However, there can be a distinct difference between what a company aspires to and what it actually achieves. If there’s a big discrepancy in this area, you should know before deciding to join the firm.
Nonetheless, phrasing the question in this particular way is more respectful than asking directly about company shortcomings.
‘What professional development opportunities are available to employees?’
Asking about the potential for promotions at the company would be a big no-no, as it would imply that you deem the current position beneath you. However, asking about the professional development opportunities simply suggests that you are driven to improve your job performance.
An especially forward-thinking company might offer such opportunities through various digital means, like the e-learning and real-time virtual classes facilitated by LifeWorks.
‘What are the company’s goals for the next five to ten years?’
Diane Kulseth, one young professional quoted by The Muse, has revealed that she always asks a company this question, adding: ‘It gives a good perspective on what their values are and how I may or may not fit with a company’. It would also show that you are committed for the long haul.
Similarly, you could ask the company about its latest product or current plans for growth. Both subjects can provide tantalising glimpses of hopefully a very exciting-looking future.