There’s lots of information online about how to answer interview questions but one question that often stumps applicants is: ‘Do you have any questions?’ This usually comes towards the close of an interview.
So, should you bring up your burning question about salary at this point? And what about a question about the potential for career advancement?
My advice is to pull back.
Even though these questions may be important to you, this is not the time to bring up salary or promotion prospects. Those topics can be discussed once an offer has been made. At this stage you are still competing with other short-listed candidates and in general, NZ employers are reticent about discussing salaries while an offer is not yet on the table.
The ‘Do you have any questions’ moment is a compelling one in the interview, and is a chance to add something of value about your understanding of the role.
Familiarising yourself with the job description is a good place to start when preparing your questions. Are there any tasks or responsibilities mentioned that you’re not sure about? Asking about specifics in the JD also shows that you’ve done your research.
I suggest around 3 or 4. Not that you’d necessarily ask that many, but it’s good to have these ready so you can pick the most appropriate ones considering what’s gone before.
It can happen that all the answers you’ve prepared were covered in the interview and you’re left with nothing to ask. In that case you’d still not say ‘No I don’t have any questions’. Instead you could ask for further clarification of an aspect of the role you are particularly interested in.
When you’re doing your research it’s a good idea to look at salary bands in New Zealand for your kind of work. You may be asked what your salary expectation is, so it’s important to be able to give an answer that’s in line with what this role is worth, rather than base it on your currently salary in your home country. The true salary negotiation usually happens once a job offer is made.
The job interview is an opportunity to show your suitability and enthusiasm for a role, as well as find out whether you can see yourself fitting into their team. Asking questions that demonstrate that you understand the role and the team, rather than what you want to get out of it, will help you to stand out.
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