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Important Questions to Ask at Interview
By Sonya Buck, AgCareers.com Australia

Great News, you have secured your job interview!

As well as preparing for the questions you may be asked during the interview, you need to consider questions you wish to ask.

Asking questions signals you are interested in the role and have taken the time to prepare. Additionally, there are genuinely things you need to know should you be offered the role which may determine if you choose to accept it. Here are some questions to choose from:

What is a typical day like in this position?
One of the most important questions to ask, you need to find out what you will be doing. To bored or disappointed on week one is an awful reality.

What are the expected responsibilities of this position?
Ask this question if you have not been able to obtain a position description. Alternatively, ask follow up questions if you don’t fully understand what was included in the PD as sometimes HR professionals or Senior Management have used complicated jargon.

Why is this position vacant?
Unless this has been communicated, you may wish to determine why the last person departed. An honest response from the prospective employer may give you an idea if you are walking into an existing problem or a role with baggage.

What are some of the challenges that the predecessor faced in this role?
Asking about the past will give you an opportunity to display how you would address these challenges and shine in the role.

What are you hoping to see from the next person to fill this role that was missing in the last?
A great ‘heads up’ on how you could approach the role and already be on the road to successfully fulfilling the position.

To whom will I be reporting?
You may be getting along famously with your interviewer, but hopefully your new superior will be in the room for the interview as well. If not, find out if there an opportunity to meet them? It may sound harsh, but as they size you up, you need to do the same.

What type of training is available for the position?
In order to be successful in the role, you need the right tools to do the job and the appropriate training is a must.

Where have successful people in this position progressed to in the past?
This is a subtle way to determine if there is room to progress within the organisation. If they have resigned, it will show there isn’t a pathway to advance.

How will you measure success in my role?
A great way to find out about the performance review process and if salary increases or promotions are available.

What is the overall structure of the department I would be working in?
It’s good to know how many layers of staff and management are between you and your boss.

Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
This is an important aspect to consider, as you will be spending many hours with this team and it give you some idea of team culture.

What do you most enjoy about working at this company?
If you feel comfortable asking this and your interviewer will be your new superior, this can give you some insight into the organisation and what it will be like to work with him/her.

What is the expected salary for this position?
There are so many opinions on this question and sometimes interviewers will interpret this as your only motivation for wanting the role.

A major survey of employers said that only 30% of employers find it acceptable to ask salary at the first interview. Hopefully, you have done your research and benchmarked the role against similar roles in the same sector and it won’t be a surprise when they offer you the role. If offered the role, this knowledge gives you the information to negotiate if the remuneration does not seem adequate.

Do you need any more information about me, my previous roles or specific experience? This opens the door for the interviewer to ask you further questions and you to display your skills.

What are the next steps for the interview process? When will the final decision be made?
It’s great to walk away knowing what happens next, so you are not left wondering after you leave the room.

A definite NO NO
Ensure you DO have questions and when asked and don’t just say NO!

If the questions you have prepared have been sufficiently answered during the interview, ask others or ask for clarification or expansion of certain aspects of the role.

Remember, unless you have experienced the briefest interview ever and need to know just about everything, limit your questions to the most important ones. The prospective employer will no doubt have time constraints and other candidates or work to complete. Good luck.