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What are the best questions to ask in an interview?

28 / 03 / 2017
What are the best questions to ask in an...Interviews are often the final hurdle between candidates and a job offer, whether you have to go to one, two or several meetings before eventually clinching the role. 

But interviews are a two-way process; the company has to impress you just as much as you need to impress them. If the position isn't a great match for your skills, experience and career plans, you may want to wait for another opportunity. 

Recent statistics from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation revealed that more than half of hiring managers believe they will have a shortage of candidates to fill permanent jobs. Organisations with more than 250 staff were particularly pessimistic - 63 per cent expect to struggle finding qualified applicants. 

This may mean talented individuals could receive multiple job offers, giving them the freedom to be selective. But what questions should you ask potential employers to confirm whether a role is the right one for you?

"How would you describe your company's culture?"

You'll probably have received information from a recruitment firm or done your own research via the organisation's website and social media accounts, but asking about company culture in the interview is still important. 

Company culture is becoming a more important issue in corporate governance departments, so employers will be just as keen to confirm you're a match for their business as you are. 

Even if the employer hasn't mentioned the company culture previously in the interview yet, you'll likely already have a good idea, but their response should put your mind at ease and give you an opportunity to reinforce how well you would fit in. 

"What soft skills are most important to the role?"

Soft skills are becoming the key differentiator between candidates applying for various positions across corporate governance functions, so you should expect some questions during the interview about this. 

For example, 49 per cent of employers for internal audit positions said they had the biggest difficulties securing candidates with good interpersonal skills, according to Barclay Simpson research from last year. 

Jobs that don't require many soft skills may be easier to obtain, but will they prepare you adequately for future roles within your sector when these capabilities become essential?

"How do you expect the role to evolve?"

There are a number of benefits to asking this type of question. First, many corporate governance positions are changing; for example, there is increasing overlap between the various lines of defence, which could affect your future. 

Second, this is a good way of finding out what training and development opportunities may be available further down the road, as well as giving you a clearer idea of the company's strategic direction more generally. 

Ideally, you can use the employer's response as a springboard for relaying the key skills and experience you possess that can help the organisation achieve its long-term goals. 

"Have I answered all your questions?"

This is a good all-rounder question for any position, as it'll give you an idea of the interviewer's early thoughts on how you performed. Hiring managers won't always revisit questions that you didn't quite get right, so this is your opportunity to get a second shot. 

A more direct way of asking this question could be to specifically query whether they have any doubts about your suitability for the role. This also gives your prospective employer the chance to see how you handle constructive criticism. 

Of course, if the interviewer says they are satisfied, it should give you some confidence that you've done as well as you can. 

Hopefully, these example questions have given you some inspiration regarding your next job interview. If you'd like more guidance, don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our consultants. 

Our 2017 Market Reports combine our review of the prevailing conditions in the corporate governance recruitment market with the results of our latest employer survey.

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