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The Interview Flip: Questions YOU Should Ask A Potential Employer

By Scott Van Heurck - 13 Jun, 2018

Most of the time when we’re job searching, we’re focused on how we can impress our future employer and get to the top of their candidate list. We present all the information they may need to know about us, and do whatever we can to put our best foot forward and secure that job offer.

But how do we know if the job we’re pursuing is a good match for us?

The key is to see the recruitment process as a two-way street. Yes, it’s important for employers to find out as much as they can about their potential new hires, but it’s equally as important for us as candidates to ask questions throughout the selection process. Asking well thought-out questions not only demonstrates genuine interest and motivation, but it also provides more information to help weigh up the pros and cons of the opportunity.

Research

It’s always recommended that you do your research when applying for a job by analysing the job posting or position description (if it’s an advertised role), and by looking at other sources of information such as company websites, LinkedIn, other similar job advertisements, or by talking to people who are in similar positions. When you make it to the interview stage, you then have a great opportunity to build on this research and fill any gaps in your understanding of what the job is really all about.

Be careful not to ask questions that are already very clear in the job information already posted. The idea is to show what you already know about the opportunity, and then ask questions that will give you a deeper understanding of the role and organisation. It might help to think of your questions in terms of 3 categories, and have at least one question prepared from each category before you go to the interview.

1) What does a typical day in the job look like?

Ultimately you want to be able to imagine yourself doing the job, to have a clear picture of the different tasks you will do day-to-day, who you will interact with, what systems or tools you might use, what challenges are likely to come up, and what knowledge and skills you will use regularly. This will help you assess whether your interests and strengths will be well matched to this job. Examples of questions that work well here are:

  • Can you please give me an idea of the variety of tasks I could expect on a daily basis?
  • What programs or systems would I be using predominantly in the role?
  • Which projects are currently the main priority, and how does this role contribute to them?
  • How much of my time would be spent on autonomous tasks versus team activities?
  • I notice the job ad mentioned customer service as a key accountability – what percentage of my time would be spent on customer calls and emails, and what are the common queries? (demonstrating your research)

2) What is it like to work in this organisation?

As well as understanding the accountabilities and tasks of the job itself, you will want to know what the work environment is like. People often refer to this as company culture, and it can be influenced by many factors such as how the company is structured, whether it is big or small, the physical workspace, and how different divisions and people interact with each other. Companies will often talk about the positives of their culture and values on their website, and the interview is a great way to find out how this resonates in the day-to-day. Try questions like:

  • What do you think employees like best about working here?
  • How do employees find out about important information from the leadership team?
  • How would you describe the work environment?
  • How do you think the company culture differs here, in comparison to other organisations in this industry?
  • How does the organisation support employees with their professional development?
  • I notice on the website that the company lives the values of ‘collaboration and innovation’ – how does that play out within your area of the business? (demonstrate your research by including values unique to the company!)

3) What is it like to work in this team?

A big part of any job is the interactions you have with your immediate team, including your manager. Usually you will have a chance throughout the interview process to meet your supervisor or manager, and sometimes you will also meet other team members. See this as a chance to observe their style as they interact with you, and to ask one or two questions about how they like to work. Remember that each team has their challenges, so rather than looking for perfection, reflect on whether you will get something positive from working with this team, whether it be a challenge, fun, cohesion or new skills. You may like to ask questions such as:

  • Are you able to give me an idea of the different roles within the team and how they work together?
  • How regularly does the team meet and what are the meetings like?
  • What sort of background and skillsets already exist within the team?
  • How would you describe your management style with the team?
  • I noticed in the position description that there are 3 different people performing this role – how do the focus areas differ for each person? (demonstrating your research).

What next?

Now that you have some more information about the job, the organisation and the people, you are in a strong position to reflect on whether this opportunity is a good match for you. The next step is to ask yourself some questions to see how closely the role aligns to your strengths, interests and personal values.

  • Do the day-to-day tasks sound like something I could do and enjoy?
  • Is there enough challenge in the daily role to keep me interested?
  • Could I contribute something and learn new skills in this role?
  • Does the work environment sound like it will suit my style?
  • Does the organisation value the same things that I do?
  • Have I enjoyed interacting with the people I met at interview?
  • Does the team sound well-structured and cohesive?
  • Could I learn something from my team members or manager?

Asking yourself these questions is especially useful if you are trying to decide between a couple of different opportunities, as it will give you a point of comparison. And remember – as wonderful as it is to receive a job offer, this is your career and you have something valuable to offer, so ask questions and think carefully so that you can choose wisely!

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Shane

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Wood Recruitment have given us consistently great service over many years. They really understand our business and culture, and they care about doing a great job. Highly recommended.

Garret

  • June 2023
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A great experience with Liam from the promptness of reaching out to arranging a catch up and providing details. The method of communication was excellent too very conversational and provided great summary feedback after. Awesome work.

Ronit

  • June 2023
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I had an amazing interview experience with Liam. Their professionalism, expertise, and personalized approach were truly impressive. They guided me throughout the process, provided valuable insights about a job opportunity. I highly recommend Liam for anyone seeking exceptional recruitment assistance.

Jamaica

  • June 2023
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Positive experience on the full onboarding process. The team makes sure you are advised on what to expect in the interviews and follow ups.

Shalini

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Wood Recruitment is an excellent agency. The responses when applied for a job were very quick and helpful and they will make sure they identify the right resources for their job demand. The HR team is absolutely fantastic and they really know what they are doing.

Jo-Anne

  • June 2023
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Wood Recruitment has been the best agency I have dealt with over my working career. From the get go Peta was friendly, attentive to what I was looking for (temp/contract work) and confident in what she had to offer. It may have just been great timing for all parties but my process was extremely fast. I had an initial phone call with Peta after my profile was found on SEEK, then we had a video chat a few hours later and I was offered a temporary assignment that same day...to start the following morning. I am truly grateful for the assistance Peta and Wood Recruitment have given me and look forward to future opportunities with them :-)

Michelle

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Really pleasant experience, great staff, swift service and great guidance. They found the perfect opportunity for me to grow myself and away move from hospitality. Highly recommend.

Philip

  • July 2023
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Wood Recruitment is a sound recruitment agency with years of experience, Liam was extremely helpful, I would recommend without hesitation, great team with great jobs available.

Deki

  • July 2023
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The whole experience with Wood Recruitment was excellent. It was great meeting with Saskia. She not only paid attention to what I was looking for but also explained how everything will work. She was professional and understanding of my situation and clearly explained everything to me. I would highly recommend Wood Recruitment for anyone looking to further their career.

Kimberly

  • July 2023
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Peta & Scott were friendly, professional & well prepared. Relaxed interview experience. Communication was clear and follow up prompt. Aveli was also helpful and responded to queries right away.

Ed

  • July 2023
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I highly recommend Liam from Wood Recruitment! You won't find another recruitment agent in Perth with as much knowledge and helpful advice to give as Liam goes above and beyond for his clients. Thanks again Liam.

Sarah

  • July 2023
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After locating my profile on SEEK, Peta at Wood Recruitment managed to secure me a position after a 3 day turnaround i.e emails, phone calls and in-house meet & greet. She was friendly, attentive & understood my need for temp/contract work. The process was fast and hassle free. I am truly grateful and appreciative for the assistance Peta and Wood Recruitment have given me and for the Company that I am about to start work with.

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