Many books on interviewing will say that toward the end of a traditional interview, you will be given an opportunity to ask questions. However, a better way is to look for opportunities to ask questions throughout the interview.
The interviewing process involves two-way communication. It is just as important for you to ask – as well as respond to – questions. Asking the right questions serves two purposes. First, it is the way to get the information you need to match your qualifications to the requirements of the job when answering questions. Second, it is the way to get the information you need to evaluate the position and make a decision as to whether it is the right one for you.
There are five significant areas you need to ask. The subject areas are listed below, along with the kinds of questions you can ask. Asking these questions throughout the interview increases the probability of a more interactive dialogue. NOTE: Not all of these questions are appropriate to ask of all companies. You need to match the questions to the organisation based on what you know about it.
1) Responsibilities of the position
What are the major responsibilities of this position?
Does a job description exist for this position and, if so, may I see it?
Beyond the job description, what are your expectations?
How long has this position existed in the organisation?
What would be the next career progression?
What situations need immediate attention?
What qualifications do you expect the successful candidate to have?
2) Resources available to accomplish responsibilities
Can I meet the people who work in the department?
What experience, training and tenure do the employees in the department have?
Does the company provide training & development programmes?
Does this department have its own budget?
What is the budget and how is it administered?
What interdepartmental or corporate support is available to accomplish the department’s targets?
3) Level of authority
Who would I be managing in this position?
Where are the reporting lines?
How long has the manager of this position been with the Company?
What is the manager’s experience and training?
What are the established policies and procedures for making decisions in this position?
Are the departmental policies and procedures documented?
What would be the extent of my authority to carry out the responsibilities of this position?
Would I have the authority to hire/terminate employees in order to accomplish the targets?
Would I have direct input for the department budget? Would I be totally responsible for developing the budget while in this position?
Which of my decisions would require approval? Who would approve?
4) Performance measurements
What are the short – and long-term goals/targets of the position, and how are they established?
Has the position been evaluated by some established means?
Do you have a performance appraisal system? How does it work?
How is performance measured against the goals/targets of the department?
What is the most important contribution you would expect from me during the first six months?
How would successful performance be rewarded?
How often is performance reviewed in this position?
5) Corporate culture
How would you describe the culture of the organisation?
How would you describe the organisation’s management & leadership style?
Is the company environment formal or informal, structured or flexible?
Do you operate in a centralised or decentralised manner?
Can you describe the interdepartmental relationships?
What has the turnover rate of the department been?
Why is this position open?
Are there any internal candidates being considered for this position?