Whether you're looking for work, or chasing that next big promotion it can sometimes feel as though all of the power lies in the hands of the employer, even though you might have a few questions of your own. It is important to view yourself as an asset, and understand that they need to win you over, just as much as you need to impress them.
When you're offered an interview
If your application has made it to the top of the pile, and you receive a phone call offering you an interview, it is important to seem engaged and well prepared. Ask the person making the offer whether there is anything you should bring in with you, or any research you should do in the lead up. It always helps to have samples of your work on hand in an interview, but asking these questions will help you to understand what direction the interview may go in, and how to ensure you present the best version of yourself.
During the interview
An experienced job-seeker will know that most interviews will finish up with the opportunity to ask your own questions. This can be the perfect time for you to build rapport with the interview panel, while also showing that you are engaged with the interview process, and have been thinking seriously about what you could bring to the role. Some questions you could try include:
“I noticed that everyone looks really excited to be here, would you be able to tell me a little bit about your workplace culture?”
“You mentioned that there are nine other people in the team, could you tell me about the structure of that team, and how I would fit in?”
“I was wondering what a typical day in this role might look like? If you could give me some insight then I can start thinking about what approach I might take to my daily tasks.”
You will get bonus points for referencing topics that were brought up during the interview, and will seem even more engaged if you ask the occasional question yourself during the interview, rather than waiting to be prompted. If you aren't as confident in taking this approach, try to remember when a question occurs to you then find a way to tie it in at the end of one of your responses. For example:
“...which is how I managed to sign up this great new client on the spot. Speaking of which, I was wondering what kind of approach your company takes towards generating new business leads?”
Has it been more than a week since your interview? Feel free to call up your main contact and mention how happy you were with the interview, and that you were wondering when the panel would be making a decision. This helps to keep you at the front of their minds, especially if they interviewed a large number of applicants.