Submitted on Mon 06 Jul 2020
View the content from The Recruitment Company's recent webinar here. In this 1 hour session we talk about the best way to approach this section of the interview, the bit at the end when they ask you if you have any questions for them. This is the easiest part of the interview to disappoint or impress. With our help you can make sure that you dazzle.
View the podcast on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/2eGLGwHtpBGJZNXoX0kCDe
View podcast on Deezer: https://www.deezer.com/en/show/1461862
Or the whole webinar can be found on our Youtube channel here (be sure to subscribe so you get early access to new content as it comes out)
Below is a transcript of questions asked at the end of the webinar
Q & A
- Question “When time is of the essence how do you work out which is the most imporatnat question to ask” by - Louise
Geoff – I suppose it depends when you get to ask this question at the start or the end and hopefully by the end of the interview say you have a list of 20 questions like Simon suggested then 15 of those questions may already have been answered so you have that long list which has now been truncated to a very short list which should help you decide which questions to ask because you have something less to ask but then also in my opinion you could ask the manager “look I have a couple of questions I would like to ask I’m going to just quickly check which I think would be most appropriate now based on us being time pressed. Silence can also be very powerful you could sit there for a minute or 10-15 seconds and just look through those questions and think which one of these questions do I want to ask and find a question.
Simon – I think sort of sitting back and almost making a show of if they have said we have very limited time any questions from me then you could say well I have a number of questions but this to me is the most important one.
I think around culture I think asking them about company culture, what makes it great those sorts of questions, if you only have one question those ones are really great because they sell you because it shows you have clearly researched. “It says on your website that this is your values can you tell me how that materialises in your daily operations? It shows you have clearly researched, you are implying that you aligning with that value cause that’s the one that you picked that you are interested in it builds rapport because it allows them to talk about some of the awesome things that they have done and building a team with that value is so prominent and you are also getting fact gathering you know if they say we have team work because we catch up once a quarter and your idea of catching up once a day then you can see you are not aligned you have that fact in front of you so those culture questions cover a lot of basis
Anna-Maria – In line with what Simon said I think a culture question is a really powerful one and it will give you a really good vibe of the organisation. I think you could probably load the question as well particularly if it was a job that you really really wanted to so once they have given you there information about the culture and how they look to build that if you were able to at stage really sell anything you know add anything that you had done previous companies around building that culture around any innovative ideas that you had contributed I think that would make it really powerful and just round off that interview in a really positive way
- Question - Julfia - Can we ask questions like: What does success mean to you? Or what is your leadership style?
Anna-Maria – Absolutely you can. They are both excellent questions, I think they would both generate a really informative discussion and I think that they are both factual and rapport building. They are both positive and I would encourage you to ask those questions
Simon – I love questions when I am interviewing someone and they are asking me “what does success look like to me” “what would make me successful in this role? To say that you are already looking to success, your thinking about performing, you are not thinking about holiday’s or when you get to go home at the end of the day you are thinking about how do I make this successful, that’s powerful, that’s a really powerful question and it is a really good insight into how a manger thinks if they are person that is success to me is a person working 12 hours a day then ok they are an input person or if they are success to me is hitting all your numbers then they are more of an output person it gives you really good insight into that manager.
If we are talking about success, I think it does portray you are thinking about that and us talking about a leadership style is a really good way of getting them to open up. You can get some really bland answers to that. Some managers will say I’m really hands off even the most micro managers will say they are hands off, what they mean is they want to be hands off but when they realise they don’t trust someone they get really stressed about it and they micro mange them and be really annoyed because they can’t be hands off so I think you need to follow on with additional questions when they say they are hands off. Like what do you mean by that? Can you give me some examples? Don’t take that first answer as given.
Geoff – and I think to be honest those two questions are great questions to ask together because they will give you a great insight into that individual and I also that first question “What does success mean to you? I’d make the assumption that most people would ask that question in a very obvious results driven environment like a sales environment or a call centre environment where your literally target on your number of calls or number of sales you make but then I think that’s a really important question to ask for a less results visible roles you know some IT roles or when developing lines of code I think that question still has very strong presence or relevance in that interview.
Anna-Maria – I think with the question around leadership style your right Simon about most people would say that they are most hands off. I think the most powerful question I have been asked is you know alongside leadership style what would the communication points during the week be with my manager or my team cause I think that will give you an insight as to how or whether you communicate daily or weekly or whether it be several times a day I think often really useful information to have as well
Simon – Just on what is your leadership style. A trick we use is when you are interviewing a candidate it’s called the “FORK” Fear of reference Check. It’s basically saying you know what are you like at work, you know if I say to your manager you know what’s this person like at work what would they say about you? It’s a slightly different question to ask so asking your manager what is your leadership style you are getting a fairly bland answer but asking them “If I was to ask your team when I meet them what is your leadership style, what would they say? It’s a bit of a trap because they don’t want to lie and it also allows them to be a bit more honest. They would say “I’m a bit more Hands off but Anna-Maria would say I probably keep quite a close eye on what she does. It allows them to put in some of there weaknesses in a softer way because they are doing it through the eyes of someone else
- Given the economic climate how do we appropriately ask about job security - Lisa
Geoff – My answer on that would be throughout the interview and probably from your agent you would have got a bit of an insight into how there Manager asks questions whether they are quite synced and to the point of weather they are quite (?) within their explanation (58.09sec)dependant on who that person is you can be either very direct and say “look I have to ask through COVID how secure is this job?” “ Do you still see me here in a years’ time?” “This is where I want to be but do you see me here, do you still see this role here. Perhaps if they are a bit more vivacious then you might ask the question a little bit less directly “I’m on the market I’m about to leave my current role cause I have been there for awhile and it just happened to be covid, it’s not about covid it’s about the role and I’m not looking to move or make the wrong move through such a strange time as covid could you give me an insight into where you see this job going what’s the 2 year plan for this rather than being too direct and going is the job still going to be round in a year you just stretch it out a bit based on the point that Simon made about the manager being ‘to the point’ or ‘how’s this’ (not sure if that is the word… I couldn’t work it out) 59.13
Simon – it’s a tricky one because I think again research in their industry because some industries are doing really well through COVID and others are really struggling so researching on that industry or competitors. Either asking them direct, I think we are in a time when justified in asking very direct questions I don’t think anyone is going to be overly shocked if you were to ask how badly has covid hit your business it’s a very valid question to ask. Or you could also say “I read an article about industry XYZ and some companies are doing well and some not so well if my research shows that you are doing well, what’s your take on how your business is doing? How has this impacted you? I probably would ask specifics like how many people got made redundant or some of those more negative things cause it can put a real downer on it you want a generally really upbeat conversation and how many of your friends got fired over the last couple of months is generally not a cheerful topic. More so how is the business going around how has it impacted. If they want to talk about redundancy and all that sort of stuff well they can bring that up but that would be my advice.
Anna-Maria – Still ask the question because it is still really important to know I would use positive language, how has the business had to change since covid, how has the culture changed? How do you see it changing further in the next 1 year 2 year. Using the word change that directs the answer but just keeping the language positive
Geoff – For a lot of businesses it was such a unique and strange time for everybody that looking back on hindsight and I know this through speaking with some customers that the actions taking at the start of covid were perhaps a little to covert to strong and some regret over that so perhaps a question you would ask to give yourself some insight into the security of it would be How did the team survive? You know trying to ask in a nice way “did you terminate people based on covid? Where you a quick responder or where you patient and did you wait and see what the market was doing before you took really drastic action before you changed people’s lives? Based on the interview style of the interviewee you would be direct or not.
- Question – Should you ask questions to each interviewer? Specifically 1st interview, 2nd interview, 3rd interview - Steve
Geoff – yes absolutely – it probably wouldn’t be the same question. Or it would be same question about their management style or their leadership style but different questions about their business or things you found out during the interview but absolutely yes I would ask questions in every stage
Anna-Maria – you would have a lot more information aswell from what they told you to be able to ask some more questions on the third interview .Hopefully they would have given you a bit of context around what they were doing what’s happening in the business that month so you can follow that up aswell in your final interview and it would show that your engaged
Simon – I have a client of mine and they are in the top 10 fastest growing companies in the asia pacific and they are an awesome company and it’s purely based on the culture and the people that they employee. They have a first interview where they go through the role, they have a 2nd interview where the interviewer says so tell me what so and so told you about the role and the 3rd interview is so tell me what so and so told you about the role and so the candidates are thinking gosh they don’t know what they are doing over there they keep asking me what I was told about the role they don’t communicate. I tell them, what they are doing is they know exactly what they are doing, they interview 20 people a week for this role they are constantly growing, they know exactly word for word what the role is, they want to know what you know about the role. So I think if you have sequential interviewers being able to say “I spoke to XYZ last week and he said that the company strategy around this was X, what’s your take on that. A. your asking a question, your confirming your knowledge but you’re also showing you remembered you listened you took onboard the feedback from the last interview. Sometimes you speak to candidates and they don’t know or they don’t remember what was asked before or they don’t seem that engaged with it but that shows engagement that shows understanding that shows a real commitment to the process.
I thinking asking the same general question, if the interviewers are comparing notes then that can be a little insulting “well I told them that, why are they asking again?” You could ask Geoff what his leadership style is, then on the second interview say “well I asked Geoff on his leadership style, what would you say is his leadership style is? That’s a good question to follow up with aswell
- Question - How do you think a big break through the pandemic period is being perceived by employers? – Daniel
Geoff – I think there would be so many employers right now that would probably be facing that right now themselves that everyone is very accepting of it. I don’t that the pandemic I would put it down a blip in someone’s CV not something that you have just bypassed. To me it wouldn’t be a concern, people have lost roles through no fault of there own what so ever purely down to company stability, poor management of covid in it’s first few months there is so many reasons. I think we are going to find it’s so common in the next 6 months 18 months 3 years, I wouldn’t even worry. If it’s something you have in the back of your mind I would try and eradicate that as your going to be the same as so many other people having that same concern themselves. Maybe ask the employer “do you see the fact that I was not working through covid as a concern or a problem? Can I give you a bit more insight as to how that came about, where the company was at and why myself and everyone else in the company lost their role. I would probably address it head on I don’t anyone would, well I would like to think
Simon – even before covid, there is perception with gaps on CV’s as bad as some employers would see a big gap in a cv and see it as bad and I would probably say those employers are A****les, not particularly pleasant people to work for. Everyone has gaps in their cv. If someone is off raising children for a few years and then comes back…. I always think you just need to own gaps in CVs and say between this date and this date I was off raising children. Between this date and this date, I took some time out to look after a sick relative. What ever it is just own it. That’s the key.. owning it. And the confidence in seeing it as the circumstance that has happened.
When people are out of work there is feeling of “omg this gap is getting bigger and bigger and it’s going to be seen as worse and worse than it’s an extra stress. Looking for work is really stressful and can be really depressing and really mentally draining. In normal circumstances an increasing career gap can be can be stressful. I don’t think it needs to be as stressful as it is. With covid it shouldn’t even be a consideration as appoint of stress when you are looking for work in the current environment as it is. If you have an employer that looks negatively at you because you had a gap in your cv through covid that employer is an asshole and you don’t want to work for them full stop.
No good employer would correlate that as anything to do with performance at all. So many 1000’s of people are in the same situation so just own it. Don’t’ let that detract from your strengths you have built up over the years