During a personal interview, most of us are primarily debating in our heads if its right to pose questions to the interviewer. How will we be perceived? Would posing questions dampen our chances of being shortlisted for further rounds? Well, these thoughts can be quite draining in itself.
Let’s clear the air of confusion for once and hold a stance in unison to say, “It’s perfectly okay to ask questions to the interviewer during a personal interview.” In fact, interviewers are happy to find genuinely interested candidates who are curious to ask and learn about the company workings and their job roles, to seek better clarity on how their contributions will make a difference to the bigger growth plan.
Now if this could provide any assurance to a perplexed lot of job seekers, the next immediate question is “What should be the questions that I should ask the interviewer?” After all personal interviews are the only one-time when you come in face-to-face contact with the recruiter and senior manager. How can you let go of this opportunity to address your concerns before accepting a job offer?
After all, it’s your right to know what you’re getting into. You need to be comforted, and assured as well to experience a stronger sense of conviction from within, that the next step you take will be the best career move you can make at this point in time. The graph has to be positioned on a growth trajectory, else why would even risk your current job and think of a career switch?
You might fret about the questions to be anticipated during the personal rounds, but you need to be equally prepared to pose questions to the interviewer such as to not ruin the opportunity and also risk being perceived as a not-so-keen applicant.
Rules to know before you pose questions to the interviewer:
- Never ask ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions or the one requesting opinionated answers to the interviewer. Interviewers and brand managers do not like being posed with questions shedding focus on their personal viewpoints on a subject. They might as well share some generic information about the state of the industry to gauge your knowledge, as the conversation builds up. However, going by the thumb rule posing such questions during a personal interview is a definite No-No.
- Can I work from home on days am unwell? Or is there a flexi-work policy? This can ruin your chances of getting shortlisted, especially if you are applying for a full-time opportunity.
- How many working hours each week will be expected of me? Are there weekends off or will I be called to work on weekends?
- How long is the lunchtime? Does the company monitor Internet usage? Will I be allowed to use cell phones during work hours?
Stay off these questions above, if you do not want to get the recruiter on his nerves and get yourself kicked-out from being shortlisted for the job role. To not ruin your chance and make the process extremely easy, here’s a quick checklist to run you through on the most unoffending questions you can freely pose to the interviewer without sounding rude, doubtful or confused. Plus, you can definitely expect answers to the below without crossing the thin line of difference between privacy invasion and access to information. Let’s get started.
1) What will be my day-to-day responsibilities in the job role?
Primarily this question is extremely relevant, not unprofessional and shows your curiosity to understand what’s expected of you to perform in the job role every day. By seeking insights into what the employer seeks of a potential hire, you can evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, and alignment of your long-term career goals, to put things in the right perspective.
2) What are the set expectations and targets to be met during the probation period, if any? How will my performance be evaluated?
This question is extremely important for both parties who intend to work out an arrangement, if a probationary offer can be considered, before making a permanent one. It offers clarity on the initial time period observed by the brand to gauge your performance, progress, and weak areas to allocate tasks and plan schedules accordingly. Perhaps, if you come across as an excellent performer in the first three months post your joining, you stand chances of securing promotion much earlier than others do.
3) What is the workplace culture?
An interviewer is always keen on answering this one. Since HR managers act as brand ambassadors of the company, entrusted with responsibility to attract and lure best talent in the industry to join the employer brand. As they explain, you can understand for yourself if you are a good cultural fit and decide next steps. The interviewer is equally keen on knowing if you would feel comfortable in a given workplace culture and environmental settings.
4) Are training programs and funding assistance made available to employees who want to pursue further education, while on the job?
You can understand if the company is focused on providing a platform for employees to learn, acquire new knowledge and financial support for career progression goals. A company that encourages employees’ personal and professional goals speaks about the rich company culture, value for employees and positive workplace environment.
An interview should always be a two-way street. If you sense hitch, vagueness or ambiguity in answers derived from the recruiter to more than one of the questions mentioned above, it’s time you invest careful thought and pay attention to minute details before you take the final call.
Recruiters do provide subtle clues as they explain organisational culture, work ethics, reward programs and performance evaluation practices. Lend a careful ear to the recruiter’s expressions and narratives that follow. It will help gauge, analyse and understand the organisation better, looking through the lens of the HR manager and arrive at a clear decision, if to accept the job offer or not.
Read: Making Career Switch at the Right Time: Getting Past the Fear!