The world of interviews is not the most fun world to be in, but once you nail your interview technique, you can transform the dreaded and sometimes strenuous process into a somewhat breezy stroll in the park.
Easier said than done, of course.
Prepare, prepare, prepare!
There’s a lot of layers to the interview process, and we’ve covered some topics already in our previous blogs, like how to prepare for a job interview (because we all know starting is the hardest part).
Preparation is key in a lot of career related situations, but it is absolutely essential in any job interview process from start to finish. Would you throw eggs into a frying pan without cracking them out the shell first? I hope not. So think carefully before throwing yourself into an interview without cracking your shell, and working out how you can make the best meal out of yourself.
But even when you’ve whisked yourself into a Michelin star meal ready to be served to the interviewers, many people forget that an interview is, in fact, a two way street.
Being the final course of the interview
Naturally, the employer has the ultimate power in laying the foundations and structure of an interview. They technically have control of the starter and the main course of the interview.
But there is always room for dessert.
And you, as a candidate, need to take advantage of being the dessert that will leave them wanting more.
Preparing questions to ask employers is not only essential for you to understand more about the role and company you are potentially landing, it’s essential for employers to grasp how invested you are in the opportunity.
At the end of an interview, the employer will almost certainly ask if you have any questions. This is the moment that you’ll be thankful you have prepared your list of questions to ask employers, and enter the phase where you can finally take a bit of control and understand more about the company you are potentially signing up to.
Preparing questions to ask the employer is a solution that is so easily overlooked, yet can avoid both employer and candidates experiencing the implications of a wrong hire.
Capital Placement’s top questions to ask employers
Capital Placement is equipped with many years experience in the interview world, holding a wealth of questions to ask recruiters and questions to ask employers. We recommend you ask your interviewer four to five questions, and we’ve chosen a few of our favourites that you should consider when you have your chance to take the reins:
1. Do you need me to clarify or elaborate on anything I said or that you read on my CV?
Show you are super prepared and want the employer to really consider every detail of your interview by asking this question. It gives an employer confidence that you haven’t just winged your interview (even if you have), and can give you an opportunity to expand on anything you said including any important details you might have missed. It is also a great and organic method to revisit an underperformed answer to a question that you may otherwise be kicking yourself about following the interview.
2. If I were to be successful, what can I do to prepare for the role?
Passionate and eager to learn, you can show you are one step ahead of the game with this question. It shows you are determined to make a good impression on your first day if you were to be successful, which can really make you a memorable candidate.
3. What are the company’s current and long term priorities?
You want to be certain a company is going to scale or remain competitive, especially in the current business environment. Asking for information about the company’s current and long term priorities allows you to envision how you can position yourself within the company, and gives a mild insight into the progression opportunities that may be available.
4. What is your favourite thing about working for the company?
Money isn’t always the motivator when it comes to a job. This question will help you understand the company culture a bit more, and what they have to offer bar a salary and the perks. For example, if a work life balance is important to you, you can elaborate on whether this is something that is offered by the company whilst you try and understand the company values.
5. What does your timeline for a decision look like? When should I expect to hear back?
A great finisher to the interview that reflects your eagerness and interest in the role. If you miss out this question, it may leave you anxiously checking your emails everyday wondering if you have been ghosted by an employer.
Questions to avoid
As much as we want to give you all the confidence in the world to ask any questions you want to ask, there is a fine line between great questions and disastrous questions. We’ve given you a heads up on some great questions that would make us positively raise our eyebrows in a job interview, but there are some rules in the recruitment world surrounding topics that you should steer clear of in an interview.
A well known rule is to avoid asking about the salary and benefits until the very final stages of the interview, as this can give employers a red flag that you could be joining them for a quick fix and not a long term opportunity. These questions can break the fine line between a great interview and a disastrous one.
Though an employer is legally obliged to consider every request regarding remote/flexible working, it is not the ideal topic to bring up in an early interview. You should show you are determined to be committed to the company’s requirements early on, saving the conversation for a more final interview once you are comfortable with your employer.
Swapping shoes with your interviewers
You may be a low key or not so low key bag of nerves, wishing you were on the other end of the table (or Zoom screen in 2020 terms), but hear me out.
The employers are nervous too.
There’s a lot of factors and reasoning behind this, but think of it this way – a bright and potentially very valuable candidate like yourself is applying to their firm, and they are faced with the pressure of making you fall in love with the company or losing out to a competitor. A classic example of the “fun and games” of the business world.
Employers are also faced with the pressure of potentially bringing the wrong talent on board, which could result in many implications for their firm, including loss of revenue and customers, decreased work production and a disrupted culture within the company.
Questions to ask recruiters
If you are signed up with a recruitment agency, you may be able to gather some details on the process following the interview. Recruiters are faced with questions daily, with candidates preparing a long list of questions to ask recruiters about a role that is being put forward to them. The questions to ask recruiters fall mainly under the ‘what on earth is this role’ category, then they filter out into the many gradual over thoughts about the prospective opportunity.
Though this is technically considered part of the recruitment role, it’s highly essential you do as much additional research yourself on the company and role as possible, and take it upon yourself to communicate with the employer as much as possible.
If you are unsure on what questions to ask during or following an interview, your recruiter should be able to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Follow up email
It goes without saying, you should always follow up an interview with a thank you email. Simple, merely time consuming and highly commended by HR departments, it shows politeness and eagerness to secure the position.
Don’t go too overboard though. Be short and sweet, acknowledging their time and gratefulness for the opportunity, and offer the chance for them to get in touch if they need anything else from you.
It can also be a good opportunity to ask any important questions you may have missed in the interview. But be aware that employers are usually very busy, so try and avoid overloading the questions and focus on getting them covered in your interview.
We hope you’ve put preparing your questions to ask employers high on your to do list after reading this blog, to ensure you are serving yourself as that Michelin star dish ready to steal the show!
Did we leave out any of your favourite interview questions? Let us know in the comments below!
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