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Job Interviews

3 Awesome Questions to Ask the Interviewer – A Guest post by Aimee Bateman of careercake.com

You have (hopefully) answered all the interviewers’ questions perfectly and it’s your chance to ask the questions. I have spent nearly every day, of the last 10 years, interviewing people for various clients. I promised I would eventually write a book which includes all the random/funny/crazy questions I get asked, but for now I am just writing this article about my favourite ones.

This is not the time to ask about salaries, holidays or the sickness policy. It is your time to show your passion and your opportunity to build as much rapport with the interviewer as is professionally possible in this time frame.

Awesome question No.1 – What is the culture like within the business?

In my experience recruiters care about 2 things. Obviously they care about lots of things, but when it comes to choosing the one person from the shortlist they ultimately look at:

1) Will they (directly/indirectly) make the company more money?
2) Will they get one with me and my existing team?

By asking the interviewer this question you are showing that getting on with the existing tem and fitting in with the culture is also on your agenda and you recognise that simply matching the job description is not the only thing that needs to be considered.

Awesome question No.2  – There are 2 versions of this question!

Version One – What would I need to do to become the most successful person in the Sales/Underwriting/Creative Team?

This is a brilliant question to ask if you are interviewing for a sales role or a role with targets. As long as you don’t ask this with an ‘arrogant’ tone to your voice it shows that being successful and being number one is something that you are most definitely interested in. This is a very attractive quality in someone if you are looking for them to hit weekly or monthly targets. I know someone who works for my old employer, Robert Half International, who was nearly one hour late, but got the job when he asked this question. He is now one of the biggest billers for that company in the world…that questioned paid off for him and my old M.D!

Version Two – What type of person is successful in this company?

This is a softer version of this question and can be asked if you do not want to be seen as overly ‘confident’ or ‘cocky’. It would possibly suit you better if you are NOT going for a sales role or your role does not have targets. You are still showing that you have every intention of indentifying the attributes and being successful.

Awesome Question No.3 – What do you like most about working for this company?

This is a great question to ask but ONLY really works if you ask it at the very end in a casual manner. It is a little personal (not too personal!) and shows you are interested in the interviewer on a personal, but professional level. On the whole, people LOVE talking about themselves and one great way to build rapport with people is to ask them questions about themselves. Let’s be honest, we all want to work with people we get on well with because ‘People employ People’ (cliché but it is sooo true). It will also give you a much better understanding of the company that you will not get from the job description or your recruitment consultant.

There are many more great questions to ask the interviewer and I hope that my favourites will prove beneficial for you in the future. GOOD LUCK!

About Aimee…

In her career, Aimee Bateman has worked for some of the largest recruitment companies in the world before setting up her own recruitment and training consultancy. She has helped thousands of people get their dream jobs and has appeared on BBC 1 and BBC 3 as the ‘Recruitment Expert’ on. Aimee also created Careercake.com which is designed to help passionate people kick start and improve their careers.

Thank you Aimee for your good tips for questions to ask and we hopefully look forward to reading other posts by Aimee in the future. 

Website: www.Careercake.com
Twitter: @ItsAimeeBateman

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8 Responses to “3 Awesome Questions to Ask the Interviewer – A Guest post by Aimee Bateman of careercake.com”

  1. thanks, I never know what to ask as they generally seem to cover most aspects.

    Posted by Lesley | January 24, 2012, 5:40 pm
  2. These are so useful and will be taking them to the employable grads and post grads at Cardiff Uni’s Employability programme week after next.

    Thanks Aimee and thanks Employables, this site is a grand idea.

    Posted by mrsmoti | January 24, 2012, 8:34 pm
  3. I find the last question very suitable; I remember one lady interviewing me ( the one about to become my manager) was very surprised when I asked her how’s working for that company. She sounded very enthusiastic and expressed her thanks for my question; it felt like personal approach at first, but then I realised she enjoyed chatting with me about her work 🙂

    Posted by Cristina | January 25, 2012, 12:54 am
  4. Saved all these tips for my next (if it ever happens) interview. Sometimes a casual, although seious approach, does work.

    Posted by Dai Reardon | January 25, 2012, 11:11 pm
    • Most qutesions like that, I accept as part of the interview process, in the same way I accept that socialising with irritating relatives is part of celebrating Christmas. I’m lucky in that I’ve never had any truly moronic qutesions, the kind that leaves you wondering if you’ve slipped into a parallel universe where the rules on what makes sense are rather different. My sister, on the other hand, had this little beauty during her hunt:“What character from Friends would you be?”She had never watched Friends (still hasn’t) and could barely even tell you the premise (still can’t). However much an interviewer might try to justify that kind of question by saying that it gives an insight into the candidate’s personality, the only insight this particular interviewer got into my sister was that she doesn’t like people making assumptions about her.Asking which animal/vegetable/mineral someone would be is bad enough. Assuming that everyone in the world has watched a certain film or series is patronising at best and moronic at worst.GD Star Ratingloading…

      Posted by Mosko | February 13, 2012, 12:44 am
  5. Good questions for the mutual interest , growth and vision.

    Posted by Syed Muhammad Ali | January 27, 2012, 7:33 pm
  6. Thanks for your qsuteion. One of the biggest mistakes that interviewees make is saying, “I don’t have to prepare. I have common sense and above average intelligence, so I’ll just wing it!” The problem with this is – our brains are like computers and our life experiences and answers are filed away in different files. It can take a while to find the right responses and when you add the pressure of an interview situation, it can make things so much worse. When unprepared for an interview someone can freeze, stutter, go bright red and yes, come up with complete blanks for qsuteions asked. Its usually because their answers are there, but hidden and it would take a bit of time, searching and prompting to get to those answers.If they ask you a qsuteion that you can’t answer, there’s a couple of things you can say. “I’m sorry but I’m a bit stuck for an answer. Can we continue the interview with other qsuteions, and get back to that one later?” (in the meantime, do a search through your brain to see if you can come up with something)or“Can you re-phrase the qsuteion as I’m having difficulty understanding the qsuteion.”or“I’m sorry but I really am not sure about how to answer that. I’m confident I could think of an answer if I had some more time to think. After the interview, I’ll go away and give the qsuteion some more thought and either call you back or email you with an answer if that is ok.”Just so you know – here are some good tips to avoid not being able to answer qsuteions: – Prepare yourself for the interview by doing a search on qsuteions and answering them on paper – then memorising them.- Practice with someone in advance- Try to get an understanding of what the interviewer will be interested in discovering about you. It’s different for different industries- There are some pretty standard qsuteions out there so make sure you think them through before you ever step through the interview door- Prepare yourself for case study qsuteions. This is when the interviewer shares a situation and asks you to comment on what you think or how you would respond in that situation.- Be ready to give examples for qsuteions like “When have you demonstrated excellent team work?” or “Describe a time you showed excellence in customer service.”Above all be prepared. The bad news is that the interview is an oral exam. The good news is that no one is more qualified to speak on your behalf than YOU! Not your mum, boyfriend, girlfriend, teacher or anyone. You hold the ultimate answers to the qsuteions.

    Posted by Priya | February 13, 2012, 6:15 am

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