With the unemployment rate currently at 6.3% and predicted to fall even lower (RTÉ, July 2017), it’s truly a candidate’s market when it comes to looking for jobs. With this in mind, the questions you ask a potential employer in your interview become even more important to ensure you’re not wasting your time, or the interviewer’s. CEO of Excel Recruitment, Barry Whelan shares his top tips on the questions you should ask your interviewer….

Often candidates going for an interview find it difficult to ask questions of the employer- they agonize over a question to ask and either don’t ask one or ask something irrelevant. In today’s job market it is crucial when at interview to engage with the prospective employer and the only way to do that is to ask questions during the job interview.

At most interviews, you will be invited to ask questions of your interviewer. This is an important opportunity for you to learn more about the employer, and for the interviewer to further evaluate you as a job candidate. It requires some advance preparation on your part.

A job interview is an opportunity for you to learn more about a potential employer. Indeed, what you learn from an interview may determine whether or not you want the job you’re interviewing for.

Here are some guidelines for asking questions:

  • Prepare five good questions.
  • Understand that you may not have time to ask them all. Ask questions concerning the job, the company, and the industry
  • Your questions should indicate your interest in these subjects and that you have read and thought about them.

Don’t ask questions that raise warning flags- For example, asking “Would I really have to work weekends?” implies that you are not available for weekend assignments. If you are available, rephrase your question. Also, avoid initiating questions about compensation (pay, vacations, etc.) or education reimbursements. You might seem more interested in cash or time-off than the actual job.

Don’t ask questions about only one topic- People who ask about only one topic are often perceived as one dimensional.

Clarify- It’s OK to ask a question to clarify something the interviewer said. Just make sure you are listening. Asking someone to clarify a specific point makes sense. Asking someone to re-explain an entire subject gives the impression that you have problems listening or comprehending. For example, you can preface a clarifying question by saying: “You mentioned that ABC Company does …. Can you tell me how that works in practice?”

Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

The following are examples of the types of questions you might ask at your job interview-

“Can you describe for me what a work week is really like as a salesperson?”

“What career paths have others generally followed after completing the program?”

“What is a typical day (assignment) [for a position you are applying for] in your company?”

“Does the position offer exposure to other facets of your organization?”

“What other positions and/or departments will I interact with most?”

“To whom does this position report?”

“How much decision-making authority and autonomy are given to new employees?”

“How will my performance be evaluated and how often?”

“What are the opportunities for advancement?”

“Does your organization encourage its employees to pursue additional education?”

“How would you describe the organization’s culture/environment?”

“What makes your organization different from its competitors?”

“What industry-wide trends are likely to affect your organization’s strengths and weaknesses?”

Asking Questions shows an interest and engages the interviewer. It is an important part of the interview process and you shouldn’t try to wing it on the day. Most importantly, ask the questions you want to know the answer to and will help determine whether this is the job for you. Good luck!