Towards the end of an interview it is normal for the Interviewer to ask if you, the candidate, would like to ask any questions. At the point you start asking questions, you are effectively taking charge of the proceedings for the first time. Remember that you need to reinforce the impression that you would be a positive addition to the organization, so remain friendly and react positively to their replies.
When asking your questions don’t interrogate the interviewer. Whilst the interview is a two-way process there is an inherent balance of power and you are in the weaker position.
Only ask questions that you think the interviewer is capable of answering. Asking inappropriate questions can lead to embarrassment and cause a rift between you. An example of this would be asking detailed technical questions of an interviewer from the HR department.
Don’t ask questions that could have easily been answered by your own research ahead of the meeting. For example, asking about the organization’s geographical offices or an overview of their product lines would be the type of question that a bright and inquisitive candidate should know before attending interview.
You must use your judgement to decide when to bring your questions to a close. Be aware of the time and the interviewer’s body language – if they start shuffling, clock watching or looking uncomfortable the time has come to wrap up quickly.
It is quite acceptable to have a prepared list of questions. You should write these in order of priority so that you ensure you ask the most important ones first. Intelligent and unique questions can leave a positive impression on the interviewer and help to set you apart from the other candidates.
Useful questions topics include:
What are the key tasks and responsibilities of the job
How are performance reviews conducted
The attitudes of your future line manager
What scope there is for promotion within the company
Training and development opportunities
Other expectations of the employer, such as travel etc
Why the position has become vacant
What is the largest challenge facing this section at present
The decision-making process and line of authority issues