Job interviews aren’t just a chance for your prospective employer to get to know you – they’re also a chance for you to get to know the organisation and people you’re hoping to be devoting half of your waking hours to.
But the chance to ask questions usually comes at the end of an interview, which means that the questions you ask can have a huge impact on how your interviewers remember you.
So choose your questions wisely!
The Benevolent Society is one of Australia’s oldest and largest not-for-profit organisations, and one of the most popular employers on EthicalJobs.com.au, with jobs across NSW and Queensland and in areas like social work, family support, mental health and women’s health & support.
We asked Talent and Attraction Specialist at the Benevolent Society, Aoife Brady, for her perspective on some of the best questions for candidates to ask at the end of a job interview.
“The best questions I’ve experienced as an interviewer are ones that show the candidate is interested in the role and want to check the opportunity is the right fit for them as a person,” Brady says.
So what makes a good question? Here are 20 of the best ones to ask at the end of the interview for your next ethical job:
1. What do you personally like most about working for this organisation?
People like to talk about themselves, and interviewers are no exception – Brady says it’s her favourite question. Probing interviewers about this can create a sense of camaraderie, invite openness and give you a first-hand insight into the pros and cons of the workplace.
2. What do you find most challenging about working for this organisation?
As above, but even more revealing!
3. How would you describe your organisation’s culture?
What would it be like to work in the organisation on a daily basis? And what sort of policies are in place to encourage staff wellbeing?
4. Can you tell me about the kind of supervision you provide?
“This is a great question for social and other community workers to ask” Brady says. Getting good quality supervision is critical for social workers to reflect on their practice, develop their expertise and provide high-quality service to clients,”
5. What have past employees done to succeed in this position?
“This is a great question – even better if it’s asked against current employees,” Brady says. “It sets the candidate out as a high achiever as they are looking at what they need to succeed and hopefully achieve positive outcomes for clients.”
6. What does a typical day look like in this role?
Want to show you’re enthusiastic and gain a clearer picture of what the job entails day-to-day? “This is a good question for recent graduates or those new to the sector or the level of role, as it helps the candidate confirm they are interested in the role,” Brady says.
7. What type of employee tends to succeed here, and what qualities are the most important for succeeding here?
This question sheds light on whether the organisation has a clear idea of who they want to employ in the role. Hopefully, the ideal candidate looks a lot like you – and if you feel like you’ve missed something they mention in response, you can always email the interviewer later to reiterate how well you think you’ll fit in.
8. How do you help your staff grow professionally?
This shows you’re interested in staying – and growing – in the role. And also tells you if and how the organisation invests in its staff.
9. How do you respond to staff conflicts?
Another great insight into the organisation’s culture, and a way to show you know that dealing well with conflict is an important part of any high-functioning workplace.
10. Will I have the opportunity to meet my potential manager or colleagues during the interview process?
Brady says asking about the team you’ll be working with is important – so an answer of ‘no’ might be a concern for you.
11. How do you evaluate success in this role?
You’ll get an idea of what it means to do the job well, and whether the organisation’s values align with yours.
12. How is your organisation addressing challenges in this field?
Questions that tackle the problems and challenges specific to a role, or the procedures of the organisation itself, show real initiative, according to Brady. “For example, I love it when a candidate [for a role working with children or families] asks us about our resilience practice framework,” she says.
13. What would you expect me to have achieved after 6 or 12 months in this role?
It’s great to know what the expectations are of you before you start. But it’s also nice to know if the organisation is organised enough to have thought about what they want from a new staff member before they begin interviews.
14. Is this a new position? If not, why did the previous person leave?
While it might be uncomfortable to ask, asking this shows you’re on the ball, and interested in how the organisation works. Knowing if the person in the role before you was fired, promoted or left of their own accord is valuable to know before you dive into the same position.
15. What new initiatives or changes are on the horizon for the organisation?
Change is a constant in most community organisations. Mergers, new funding, funding cuts, new leadership – these are perennial parts of many NFP organisations. It’s good to know just what’s in store for your first months in a new job.
16. Is there anyone else at the organisation you’d like me to meet with?
Gain a better idea of how much the organisation values teamwork and collaboration, as well as potentially determining for how many more interviews in the recruitment process to come.
17. Is there anything else I can do or provide to help you make your decision?
Brady says this is a solid question – “it shows the candidate is switched on,” as well as showing that you’re confident and enthusiastic.
18. Is there anything we haven’t yet covered that you think is important to know about working here?
A sort of ‘catch-all’ question that wraps up the interview nicely, this could answer questions you hadn’t thought to ask.
19. Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications or experience?
Asking this could place you in a vulnerable position – Brady says it also “puts the interviewer on the spot” – but it shows you’re confident enough to discuss and address your weaknesses.
20. What are the next steps in your recruitment process before you can make an offer?
“This is a good ‘next steps’ question – great for a candidate to ask last as it closes up the interview,” Brady says.
Finally, there’s the question of how many of these questions to ask. Don’t ask them all!
There’s no perfect number of questions you should ask, but more than one is usually good. Aoife Brady says candidates should always ask at least two or three questions.
And if that’s not enough to really find out all that you want to know, just check with the interviewer and they should be happy to tell you how many questions they have time to answer.