Metro seeking HR experts

ended 18. August 2021

A journalist at the Metro is looking for HR/recruitment experts to give comments on the best questions to ask an employer in an interview - and why these questions are good. What are your best 2-3 questions to ask, and why? Deadline is tight!

9 responses from the Newspage community

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"In a labour market tighter than one of Rishi Sunak's shirts, it's all about what the employer can offer the candidate, and moving at pace. "What's THE most important thing that your next role must have? At what stage are you in other selection processes?"
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"One of the most important questions to ask employers in the current climate relates to their current and future flexible working policies. Employees need to know whether, six months down the line, their policy will change and what they can expect if it does."
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"This is an age-old question. In a jobs market as candidate-driven as this, it's your chance to see why you would want to work for a particular company. So my top two interview questions would be: "How are you different from your competitors (translate: what's special about your business)? "How did you deal with the pandemic and how quickly did you offer your staff flexibility and other work from home options? "The second question in particular will tell you a hell of a lot about how the company looks at its workforce."
"The most important thing for anyone prospecting for jobs is to find the right fit for them, not just 'another job'. It is not easy to determine this from a job advert and description alone so they should first read up on the company website, view staff profiles and check to see if there is any recent news. The candidate should ask questions on management style, team culture, about opportunities for staff development or progression, and generally 'what is it like to work here'."
There is one simple one that will reveal a lot about them as a person to work with... "What do you enjoy most and least about working with a team?" This will give you insights into their personality and working style. Even if they will be working on their own, every employer needs people who work well as part of a team. If you have a candidate in front of you who gets resentful, complains or takes more than their fair share of the glory, this question is likely to reveal it.
"The best questions I always used to ask in an interview were: "I'd love to know one thing you don't like about the business", or "If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the business, what would it be?" "It always gave me a true sense of the company culture, as well as whether the leadership were aware of the company direction and how I could help them make improvements. It ruled out anyone who said "nothing" or "we're perfect" as somewhere that I wanted to work."
"I was once asked the question, "how would you prepare for an apocalypse - you have 24 hours - what are the top 3 things you would do?" Questions like this are so much better than standard interview questions as they can tell you so much about the person. Is their focus just on themselves or are they a team player? As a senior leader and psychologist on interview panels I always ask questions which give an insight into leadership skills (at all levels) and the candidate's focus on emotional well being and diversity and inclusion."
"When I was Head of Talent at British Airways, I interviewed many senior people and loved getting to the end of the interview to see what questions were asked by the interviewee. The types of questions they asked would give me an insight into how much preparation they had done and ultimately how they would perform in the role. Some great questions to ask are: "What would be the one thing that I could do to make most impact in this role?" This will give you an insight into what it takes to be successful around here; it will also show you what type of behaviour is tolerated and rewarded. "What is the typical career path for someone working in this role?" This question is great for those who are at the earlier stages of their career and will show you whether or not there really is the career progression in the business. "How will the merger with x impact this role?" I read XYZ about your CEO and her plans for the business, can you tell me more about x in particular?" These 2 questions show that you have done your research and you know what is going on in the organisation. Mergers and strategy changes will inevitability cause a reorganisation which could present opportunities; on the other hand, they could also mean that the business gets streamlined. "How would you score the company on living up to its core values?" This turns the tables and gets the interviewers to sell the organisation to YOU. "What were the highs and lows from your latest Employee Opinion Survey? What actions are you taking in response to this?" The response will tell you what is really going on and how serious the organisation is about fixing the problem.
Question one: "How would you describe your company's approach to, and support of, wellbeing, particularly mental health during the pandemic?" Maintaining your wellbeing and good mental health is important to all of us. You want to feel comfortable that if you become unwell and need support you will be able to access it without fear of stigma or reprisal. Question 2: "Is there anything that you've heard from me that you'd like clarity on, or that concerns you?" Having the opportunity to provide clarity, fill in any missing bits of information or discuss any concerns in the moment can help you clear up any doubts the interviewer may have about you fitting into the role.