Almost all interviews will allow time for you to ask questions at the end. This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate many of your great qualities and find out crucial information about the role and organisation, so don’t waste it! Here are five of the best questions to ask, plus some you should probably avoid!
Questions you could ask...
1. How would this role impact on delivering to the mission of this organisation?
Every role should be linked to the ultimate mission of the organisation and gaining an understanding of how this role contributes to the overall mission can be both insightful and motivating.
It will give you clarity on how impactful the role will be and a strong sense of purpose. It is also a great way to demonstrate your passion for the cause and your desire to contribute to the success of the organisation.
2. How will you determine and measure success in this role?
Some roles lend themselves well to interviewers being able to answer this question - for example, fundraisers reaching targets or securing key partnerships. There are, however, many roles that do not have such tangible outcomes. Despite this, organisations should still be able to demonstrate how they would measure success in any role. This will give you a sense of how realistic their expectations of you might be and it also shows that you have visualised yourself in the role, are determined to be successful, and that you are outcomes orientated.
3. What’s the best thing for you about working for this organisation?
Your interviewer will most likely have worked for the organisation for some time, and it is likely they are also potentially in a position of authority. This means they could be well placed in sharing a more personal view on what they love about the organisation and give you a sense that there is a genuine alignment with their values and those of the organisation.
4. What can you share or tell me about the diversity and inclusion (D&I) aims and objectives of this organisation?
What you want to glean from this answer is whether there is evidence of a D&I strategy, at worst, having been communicated to staff, and at best, clear evidence of this strategy already being lived within the organisation. Diversity objectives should perhaps come secondary to getting a sense of their approach and commitment to inclusion. Although these are inevitably inter-connected, a truly inclusive organisation often benefits from diversity as a natural consequence.
You can explore this further through asking questions about their onboarding and induction processes, how they promote employees, what informal initiatives they run, such as parenting forums, diversity committees, or book clubs, and lastly, but importantly, evidence of flexible working practices. Be cautious with responses from interviewers that solely correlate with having a ‘policy’ on something and probe further to gather real-life evidence to support any inclusion and diversity-related policies.
Finally, try not to draw too many conclusions about diversity, or the lack of it, from websites alone. All may not be as it seems, and the interview is a perfect opportunity to learn more.
5. Is there anything you would like me to elaborate on or that you feel I could further evidence to you today?
Interviews, for many, are not comfortable or the most natural way to showcase ability, skills, and passion for a role but, for the time being anyway, they will continue to feature strongly as a key component to the hiring process. That is why this question is so important. You may have felt nervous or constrained with some of your answers and you are inviting the interviewer to ask you something again or perhaps a little differently. You are demonstrating a desire to give them the best account of yourself.
This question is particularly useful if you have quite varied and broad experience. It might just help you hone in on more specific, core skills for the role.
AVOID asking these questions...
1. Can you tell me more about the organisation?
This is too generic and could indicate a lack of research or preparation for the interview. Avoid asking any questions that you could easily find the answers to through quick and easy online research, such as size or income; what projects or campaigns they have running now or the structure of the organisation. You may even be able to find information about the growth plans of the organisation online.
One way to easily impress an interviewer is to demonstrate your research when giving answers where relevant.
2. When will I get promoted or will you consider me for other roles within the organisation?
This question could suggest to the interviewer that you are not interested in the vacancy on offer, but only in its potential to help you progress to something better. It is important to know that this role will help you secure your long term career goals, so you could ask “What would I need to achieve in this role to be considered for promotion in the future?” or “Do you encourage and actively promote and support internal promotions or other opportunities?
3. How do you feel I performed in this interview, or do you have any concerns about me?
The truth is, even if the interviewer has concerns or thinks you performed badly, they are very unlikely to tell you that when asked directly. Although the logic is that if you are given negative feedback, you would be able to counter this, there is always the danger that it comes across as defensive rather than asking for and being open to constructive criticism.
Perhaps the best way to demonstrate you are open to feedback and keen to strengthen weaker areas is to look for opportunities during the interview to get this point across.
For the latest career advice visit our employability support hub. For further interview advice or information on how to qualify a good employer, you can contact TPP on 020 7198 6000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.