Saturday, 7 April 2012

Interview Preparation: Asking the Employer Questions

Over the last couple of months I've been receiving reader responses for upcoming posts. Job interviews was one of the recurring topics that came up, hence this week's blog post. Instead of doing some simple do’s and don’t's I’ve decided to create a series of blog posts called ‘Interview Preparation’, in order to cover this substantial topic.
The first post in this series is ‘Asking the Employer Questions’, this is an area I’ve been bad at in interviews and some of you may have overlooked it before too. Thus, have a read of the prompts I've created below.

Should I ask my interviewer questions?
This may sound slightly obvious considering the title of this post, but in short, yes you should ask the employer questions. This will reveal the full extent of your job interview preparation. Having no questions to ask the interviewer may give off negative impressions such as, incompetence and ill prepared.

Have your questions already been answered on the company website?
Saying that, you should make sure that your questions aren’t easy ones that the company website already answers. Instead, try to be a bit more original by asking questions like, how do I need to perform in order to be successful in the desired role.

Are your questions good?
Furthermore, once you’ve prepared your questions (this could be up to 10 or more), then decide whether the question is of a good enough standard to ask the interviewer. For example, your questions should be open ended and not closed (typically a yes or no answer is achieved through a closed question). You can get out of asking closed questions by using words like ‘how’ or ‘why’.
Once you’ve done that you can filter your questions down even more by removing the less useful ones. This may include questions that are hypothetical e.g. 'what if...' and so on.

What shouldn’t I do?
Don’t ask the interviewer anything irrelevant or personal. I know a lot of people research their interviewer before the interview – fair enough – but make sure you use any knowledge gained from this to your advantage. For example, are they on YouTube presenting a work-related presentation? Then can you apply this knowledge to one of your questions? There is no point just throwing in a statement highlighting the fact you have researched them – unless you think it’s necessary and/or want to look like a stalker.

I hope you've found this post useful as I’m sure that many of you are in the same position I am in now, and will be undertaking numerous interviews come summer. Good luck with those and keep reading my future posts about interviews!
For inspiration of what questions to ask the employer, visit

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