The purpose of interviews is two-fold – for employers to find out more about you and if you are the right fit for the role and their organisation; and for you to find out more about the organisation. At the end of the interview, the interviewer will give you the opportunity to ask them questions. Ideally these questions will come naturally and spontaneously but it is always wise to have prepared 3 or 4 questions in advance as it is another chance for you to impress the employer!
It is important to work out your own questions based on what you need to know. No doubt some of those questions will be covered in the interview but some may not. Areas you might want to consider include:
- The organisation - current projects and future developments (do your research first! Are there any projects for example that you have identified in your research that you could get involved with?), culture of organisation.
- The job - what you would be doing on a day to day basis, typical projects and timescales. What is expected of you within the first 3 months.
- Training - what opportunities there would be for new graduates, support for professional exams/chartered training, mentoring or appraisal systems.
- Colleagues - who you would be directly working with, who would supervise you.
- Location - where you would be based, how much travel would be involved/mobility.
- Prospects - criteria for promotion, opportunities for specialisation or moving to other departments within the company.
If all your prepared questions are covered in the interview, emphasise to them that all your questions have been answered.
It is not a good idea to ask about salary, especially if this is the only question you ask!! If salaries are not discussed during the interview or stated elsewhere, there would an opportunity to deal with this when a job offer is made.
Notification of the outcome of the interview – ask the interviewer when a decision is likely to be made or what the next stage of the selection process will be.
Hint: Make sure you don't ask the interviewers anything you could have found out from the information available to you eg their company website. On the other hand, don't embarrass them by asking anything too technical or obscure.