Six questions you should ask in a job interview
By The Good Jobs Team, 26 Jun 2017
In job interviews, it will generally be fairly clear who is interviewing whom (although if anybody actually barks, "Ve are asking the kvestions here!", that's probably a bad sign).
Quite often, though, the interviewers will ask at the end, "Do you have any questions for us?". Here, as at all points, you're expected to have something to offer.
1. "What are your staff review processes? When would my first evaluation come?"
All you need to do here is to show that you're familiar with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and Management by Outcomes and all the rest of the jargon, and that you're down with that - in fact, all you want is the chance to be judged on your work in the actual job rather than all this, let's face it, irrelevant paperwork on experience and qualifications. As to the actual evaluation, you can cross that bridge when you come to it.
2. "How do you see my section developing over the next few years?"
The world is, as you probably know better than the panel, changing rapidly, and the jobs that seemed certain a few years ago - buggy whip manufacturer, telephone handset sanitiser, typist - are now only answers in pub trivia quizzes. Is the area you're now trying to enter one of these? If nobody on the panel has ever thought about this possibility, the odds are that it may be. If someone has, on the other hand, they'll be encouraged to know that you're thinking along the same lines.
3. "What are the timelines on the selection process?"
This is fairly standard; you want to know when they're likely to tell you their decision, and you need to know when they'd expect you to become available. Depending on how much weight you think the panel is giving to your being besotted with their particular organisation, and depending also on how much confidence you have in your ability to bluff, you can at this point suggest you need to know because you have other offers that will need answers: "If any further interviews are necessary, I'll be available any time in the next two weeks - oh, not on Thursday or Friday, because I'm being flown to Sydney/Melbourne/Singapore for an interview there..."
4. "Is there any provision for volunteer leave?"
Many major law firms provide time off for their employees to go and do pro bono work with needy cases, and while NFPs don't have nearly as much money to throw around, many of them have similar provisions in place. If they do, they'll be pleased you asked: if they don't, they'll feel that they perhaps ought. You want to show that you're in tune with the not-for-profit ethos, and that you walk the walk.
Do have a volunteer charity name handy in case they ask, though - with a human interest story attached if possible.
5. Do you need me to explain or elaborate on anything I said or that was on my resume?
Before asking this, be sure that you have the answer to back this question up. Offer to go into greater detail on any answers you may have given or any skills, jobs or achievements listed on your resume. By offering this, the interviewer will trust your answers more and have greater confidence in your ability and skillset.
There are often, too, points along the way where you can slot in important information more readily through a question than by an answer. Depending on how things go and what comes up, try asking this:
6. "Can I send you more material on that?"
If you've managed to twist the conversation around to anything you can remotely claim to be good at, offer to expand on it by sending more detail later. Hopefully, it'll leave the impression you can back up anything you say; at worst, it gets you another bite at the cherry. If you're still in it, there's always the chance you'll win it.