GET THAT JOB ! Killer Interview Questions

Next time you're asked if you have any questions at the end of an interview, remember out expert advice and never be left tongue-tied again

1. How does this company fit into the industry as a whole?

Don’t just ask question about the job you’re being interviewed for, think about the company as a whole. Try quizzing your interviewed about the company’s competitors, potential new projects and the future of the business – It will give them the impression you’re interested in the entire industry, and not just the role you are applying for. This will earn you big interview brownie points. Sophie Daranyl, managing director of Haygarth PR, thinks candidates should. “Try to look at the bigger picture and think outside of the box. Far too many people just think on a micro level – it’s important that an interviewer can see you want to invest yourself in something and you’re ensuring it’s a good thing.”

2. What does this job involve?

Remember, interviews are for your benefit, too – so ask questions that can help you to assess if you even want the job. “Ask questions that will give you an insight into that the job is actually like,” says Hazel Birch, branch manager of Nationwide. “For example, what benefits are offered; If traveling is involved and if you will have any extra responsibilities.”

3. How much will l get paid?

This is probably the only question you really want to ask, but be careful, you don’t want your interviewer to think your only objective is to get your hands on a big fat pay – pocket. Zoe Strauss, head – hunter for recruitment company Spherion, think it’s important to approach the question of salary tactfully. “If you’re going for a very money – driven job, like in sales, then l think asking about incentives, bonuses and salary acts very much in your favour. Your interviewer will see you’re earnings driven and many feel you are more likely to succeed. If you’re going for a job where pay isn’t directly linked to performance, however, I think it’s wise to approach the subject carefully or not at all.”

4. Is there scope for promotion?

“Don’t be afraid of voicing your career aspirations,” says Liz Edgar, international business manager for Lush Cosmetics. I would be impressed if someone applying for an in-store role asked about opportunities to rise within the company. I started out as a shop assistant and rose through the ranks, so I admire a bit of ambition.”

5. How long have you worked here?

Ross Holden, head of personnel for Waitrose head office, says: “Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer how they feel about working for the company. What they consider the challenges and rewards of the job will reveal a lot about the business and they may like the fact you want their opinion.” Don’t get too personal, through - asking them if they like their boss may be a step too far. Read the signs, If your interview is an informal chat, you can afford to stray into more relaxed territory. But, it’s ultra formal, then stick to tried-and-tested subjects.

6. I see you have recently redesigned your logo – why was that?

Your interviewer will be looking for evidence you are really clued-up about the job you are applying for. Warehouse’s human resources manager, Elizabeth Rally, says, “It’s essential candidates research the company thoroughly, but don’t just read the information on their website. If you’re going for a job with us, It’s good idea to visit some stores before the interview and get a feel for the company. You can then ask relevant up-to-date questions.”
By asking questions that show you have an indepth understanding of both the company and the marketplace, you’ll be able to your interviewer you’re serious about this job and focused about what you want to achieve.

7. What kind of person are you looking for in this role?

No matter what sort of job you’re going for, you should always ask you interviewer what kind of person they’re looking for to fill the vacancy – and which personality traits they feel are most important for the role. Sam Baker, editor of company magazine, thinks this can be extremely valuable as, “This will give you the chance to get a feel for whether you would fit into the company and to what extent you will be able to make a success of the job in question.
For instance, if you think your dream job is to work on the features desk of Company magazine, but can’t bear the idea of picking up the phone to complete strangers and trying to persuade them to be in the magazine, then you probably wouldn’t enjoy the work, or be any good at it. After all, the job has to suit you, too.”

8. Why has this job become available?

Paul Jacobs, managing director of Office Angels thinks, “Candidates can learn a lot about a company’s promotional structure by finding out why the person they’re replacing moved on. If they have been given a speedy promotion, then it’s a positive sign you are applying for a job with good prospects.”

9. ‘ERR….. ‘

Don’t let your eagerness to blurt out any old question ruin the whole interview, if you can’t think of any to ask, it’s better to just make your pleasantries and leave. Steve Coomber, co-author of The Career Adventurer’s Fieldbook: You Guide To Career Success (Capstone Publishing Limited, 1299), warns tat some questions are so awful, they can totally scupper your chances of getting your dream job. For example, asking your interviewer how well they think you’ve performed in the interview or grilling them on whether you’ll have to work long hours will probably go down like a lead balloon. Make sure you stick to upbeat, enthusiastic questions. That way, you’ll be sure to make a positive, lasting impression.

10. No thank you, I think we’ve covered everything

Even though the interview is over, stay professional right until the very end, says Simon Shaw, managing director of Haringtons hairdressers. “Be friendly, but don’t become overly relaxed – simply shake their hand, there’s no need to kiss!” If you don’t have any questions, leave the room with a polite goodbye, thanking your interviewer for their time. Remember, the final goodbye is almost as important as the fist impression. If you can manage to do all that and not trip over the carpet on the way out the door, you’re bound to bag that dream job!
(From : Company Magazine – March 2004)