Interviewing the Interviewer: Turning the Tables for Your Next Job Role

So, you find out your CV has bagged you a job interview for a role that interests you. It could be the opening you need to start excelling in your career. It might be a significant pay rise. And it could be the job you have been looking for since you entered the workplace. There’s a lot at stake, right? And when there is a lot at stake, there tends to be a lot of nerves, too. As the big day approaches, you will be worried sick, questioning your abilities, and contemplating how you will feel if you don’t get the job.However, it doesn’t matter how nervous you are, you should never take your eye off the ball when it comes to a job interview. Sure, you might be desperate for the role, but it’s vital to remember that interviews are a two-way process. While your interviewers are trying to work out if you are a good fit for their company, you should be doing the same to them. And to find out, you’ll need to ask some incredibly important questions. Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to ask when interviewing the interviewer, to ensure you find out if the role really is the one you have been dreaming of. 

What Are Your Biggest Problems as a Business?
Want to impress your interviewers at the same time as finding out if the company is struggling? Asking about a company’s biggest challenges is a big question to ask that goes a long way to revealing huge issues. It will show you are a natural problem solver and are already forming thoughts on how you can help them. The interviewer will start to imagine you working in the company, and reaping the benefits of the skills and solutions you might bring. It will also act as a red flag in particular cases. What if the interviewer reveals they have big issues in another department or are struggling to do something you can’t possibly help them with? Taking on a role like this could prove difficult for your career, and it’s well worth covering your bases. 

What Are You Looking For?
Forget about what you had read in the job description when the role first caught your eye. The interviewer will give you a rigorous test of your skills, abilities, and experiences, but not every interviewer will include everything. Asking what they are looking for will prompt them to get all of their cards on the table, and ensure that you get the chance to shine and prove yourself as the right candidate for the job. It might also reveal a lot more about their expectations - perhaps you can find out if they are looking for someone to do way more than you would expect for the money.

How Much Training is on Offer?
While a particular job role might seem like your dream move, it won’t be if you end up stuck in a rut. You should always ask about a company’s training and education programme, for several different reasons. First of all, it shows you have ambition. People that have an interest in developing their careers often prove invaluable to their employers. But it will also show you about the actual potential of the role. If you want to achieve success, you will need your employer’s backing - and offering further training and progression is the least amount you can expect from a modern, progressive company.

What is Your Record on Health and Safety?
Your perfect job role could end up being a nightmare behind the scenes if you don’t ask this question. You want to see a company that takes its responsibilities seriously and has a good HR department in place. However, according to workplace solicitor Ellis Whittam, the vast majority of employers don't have legally qualified advisers on human resource matters- and may not even have an HR department. Be wary of companies like this, as there can often be many problems happening in the background. 

What Are Your growth And Expansion Plans?
Asking this particular question will show your interviewers you are keen to help the company grow. It’s important to do plenty of product and service research about the company beforehand, of course, so you have a general idea of where the company lies. But it will also give you a few clues as to where the owners and leadership team are going next. No one wants to join a company that has no plans for growth, or will end up being sold to a bigger business - it’s too risky. You want to hear great plans, a focused attitude to expansion, and concrete ideas.

Who Else Is On My Team?
You should show an interest in who you will be working with if you accept - or are offered - the job role. It’s important to find out the type of person who you will have regular contact with, and it’s vital to build up a picture of your daily meetings and interactions. It could be one of the interviewers, in which case you can continue the conversation and find out a little more. Asking this question also makes the assumption you will get the job. It puts a little reminder in the interviewer’s mind that you are confident in your skills, and feel like you are perfect for the role. 

Are There Any Problems With My Application?
This final question can be tough to ask - but, nonetheless, it’s vital. In many cases, it will give you some significant clues on how your interview has gone and will catch your interviewers off guard. They could display some body language - positive or negative - and they might reveal their immediate thoughts. However, it’s also the perfect chance to ensure you leave the meeting on a positive. If the interviewers have concerns, you can address them then and there. Potentially, you have the opportunity to turn around a poor interview and turn everything around before you leave. 

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