No matter how nervous you are for your brewery interview, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the interviewing process is a two-way street. They’re trying to decide whether you’d be a good fit for their needs, but you should also be trying to determine the same thing.
Asking your interviewer smart questions can help you get a better feel for the brewery, as well as demonstrating that you’re exactly the professional they’re looking for. To help our readers swallow their nerves and ask the perfect questions, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourites, as well as useful advice.
How To Ask Questions
- Most interviewers reserve time at the end of the interview for questions. There’s no harm in waiting until then to ask yours, particularly if your interviewer has a tight schedule to keep to.
- However, you should feel free to bring up questions as they occur naturally. If you think of a question but it doesn’t feel like the right time to ask, write your idea down to circle back to.
- In the event that an interviewer answers your question without you having to ask first, there’s no harm in briefly mentioning that you were going to ask about that, and thanking them for explaining.
- Be polite, and stay on-topic. While questions are both useful and professional, avoid focusing on one detail to the exclusion of others. Keep the conversation moving, and pay attention to your interviewer’s guidance.
- Before asking any question, you should adapt it to your needs. For example, if a brewery outlines their professional development offerings in the job listing, focus any related questions on information they haven’t included, or that you’d like further details on.
Questions Not to Ask
There might be no such thing as a dumb question, but there are definitely questions it’s not smart to ask during an interview. These mostly fall into three categories:
- Those that demonstrate a lack of professionalism
- Those that demonstrate a lack of knowledge or skill
- Those that should have been answered by reading the job listing carefully or researching the brewery in advance
The Top 5 Questions to Ask
1. “Can you tell me more about [an aspect of the brewery culture]?”
Even within the same industry and region, different workplaces can have widely different cultures. Given that the craft brewing industry is one based on deep passion, this is particularly true for breweries, and understanding their work culture is key to determining whether you’ll be a good fit.
As part of your job-hunting process, make a list of your ‘Must-Have’, ‘Would Like To Have’, and ‘Can’t Have’ features of a brewery’s culture, and focus your questions around the first and last lists.
2. “Do you have any concerns about my industry background or experience for this role?”
It’s nice to imagine that you’re a perfect fit for a position, but even the most qualified applicant likely has a few qualities that might make an interviewer cautious. By taking the initiative and asking, you’ll emphasize your professionalism and might have the chance to address their concerns directly.
3. “How is success measured for this position, and where does it fit within the brewery’s larger goals?”
Recognition, a sense of achievement, and the knowledge that you’re part of a larger team are all crucial parts of job satisfaction for most people.
If you have experience in similar positions, it’s likely that you already have an idea of how this question will be answered. However, asking will still give you a much better idea of both how the brewery functions and how they handle recognition and support.
4. “What are currently the largest challenges I’d face within this role?”
A good interviewer is likely to explain a wide range of details about the position, as well as the brewery and its goals. However, really understanding a role sometimes requires digging deeper and asking questions that might help an interviewer explain things from another perspective.
Challenges faced by brewery employees might range from ‘a piece of equipment that acts up and that we’re waiting to replace’, to ‘innovation has stagnated due to inter-brewery politics’. While your interviewer will almost certainly take a diplomatic approach, you’ll still be more likely to get a clearer picture of where your stress points may be.
5. “What opportunities for growth and development does the brewery offer for employees, and for this role in particular?”
The best workplaces provide ample room for professional development. These vary widely, particularly among smaller operations, and can play a major role in the course of your career. What opportunities are the most important for you? Would additional training make up for limited chances for promotion and advancement?