4 Questions to ask your interviewer

While they can be intimidating and overwhelming, job interviews should not be seen, or treated as, a one-way street. While it is your chance to make a good first impression as a candidate, it should also be seen as your chance to find out more about the position and the organisation.

ManpowerGroup South Africa’s managing director, Lyndy van den Barselaar, suggests that you prepare some questions for your interviewer ahead of your interview. “While you will be preparing to answer questions about your skills, experience and future vision, you should also be thinking about some questions to ask your interviewer. These may be based around the role you will be taking on, the structure of the team, the organisation itself or ways of working,” she explains.

Van den Barselaar lists some interesting questions you may want to include on your list, which will help you to gain deeper insight into the role you are interviewing for and the expectations of your performance there in:

1) What is one accomplishment you would like to see from me in the first 90 days?

Most interviewees ask questions like, “What is an average day like?”. Instead, try to ask questions that will reveal what the company is looking for in a top-notch employee.

By asking this question, you show that you care about the needs of the organisation and that you are willing to put some thought into the day-to-day tasks of the job. It also shows that you are vision-oriented. “The questions you ask can say a lot about you, and asking this kind of question displays an interest in the role and how success will be measured,” says van den Barselaar.

2) When you hire someone for this position, what will be the most pressing challenge they will face on the first day?

This question gets into the nitty-gritty of what your job will be like in the first week. It goes beyond the typical human resources challenges and into the particulars of the role itself.

“Make sure your interviewer understands that you really care about the details of the job and not just the onboarding process. Understanding the role as well as possible is important in making decisions around whether it is right for you,” says van den Barselaar.

3) What are your expectations for this position 6 months from now? And in 2 years?

You'll want to know what the hiring manager's expectations are for your position, both for the short- and long-term. “The answer to this question will help you to gauge the longevity of the position, the growth opportunities around the position and the importance of this position within the broader organisation – important information to be armed with when making your decisions around taking on a new job,” says van den Barselaar.

4) What kind of career coaching do you provide for employees?

Present this question in terms of how it will benefit the company. To succeed in today’s ever-evolving workforce, you need to continue learning and growing your skills set. Successful companies recognise that they also play a part in building successful careers for their employees, as this benefits them in the long run.

“Start a career conversation with your potential employer in the job interview by letting them know that you understand your success translates into their success. Not only will this demonstrate your knowledge around the evolving business landscape and the dwindling lifespan of skills, but will also position you as a candidate focused on the success of the organisation as well as your own,” says van den Barselaar. “What’s more, you’ll be able to gauge the opportunities for further skills development, should you take on the role.”

Job interviews are an opportunity for you to interview your potential manager as much as it is an opportunity for them to interview you. “Take advantage of this opportunity. Not only will you demonstrate a clear understanding of the job market, but it is an opportunity for you to showcase clear communication skills and a forward-thinking attitude – all of which are important traits for success in the modern business environment,” concludes van den Barselaar.