Questions to ask at an interview

Author
Jemma Smith, Editor
Posted
May, 2017

Job interviews are a two-way street. They're as much about you assessing the company as about the company quizzing you - so don't waste the opportunity to ask questions of your own

Your interview is going well. You've answered all the recruiter's questions confidently and related your responses back to the job description - so far so good. As the interview comes to a close, one of the final questions will be, 'Do you have any questions for me?' If you want to be in with a chance of securing the job, always answer yes.

Having a list of questions to ask an interview makes you look interested, enthusiastic and engaged - all qualities that the employer will be looking for. It also gives you one final chance to further highlight your relevant qualities and experience. Not having any questions to ask will give the impression of unpreparedness and a lack of interest in the role.

Try to come up with at least four or five questions; that way, if one or two of them are answered during the interview, you have backups in place.

Avoid asking questions that focus too much on what the organisation can do for you. Save questions about salary, holiday allowance and working hours for when you've got the job. Also, stay away from questions that require a yes or no answer, as you're likely to find this information on the company's website. While it's okay to ask your interviewer to clarify certain points, avoid asking about anything that has previously been covered; you don't want them to think that you haven't been paying attention.

If you need a little inspiration here are some smart questions to ask at an interview.

Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?

Asking this question enables you to learn as much about the role as possible. The interviewer's response will provide insight into what specific skills and experience are needed and it will also help you decide if the role is right for you.

The answer will give you an idea of what the employer's expectations are, so there should be no surprises when you start; if you're offered the job.

How could I impress you in the first three months?

This is a good question to ask at the end of a job interview as it shows potential employers that you're eager to make a positive contribution to the organisation.

Pay close attention to the recruiter's response as it will tell you how they want you to perform and will highlight particular areas of the job you should be focusing on during the first few weeks of employment.

Are there opportunities to progress within the role/company?

Enquiring about development opportunities demonstrates to the interviewer that you’re serious about your career and committed to a future with the organisation.

You don't want to be stuck in a dead-end job so if you're unsure of the typical career path for someone in this role, asking this question will help you to assess whether a long-term career with the company is a possibility, or if you'd need to move on to gain further responsibility.

Where do you think the company is headed in the next five years?

The response you receive will give you an insight into the company's progression plans and its place in the market, while giving you a general idea about job security. You may also get a heads-up on any major upcoming projects.

Asking about future plans shows a real interest in the organisation and reiterates your commitment to the company.

Can you describe the working culture of the organisation?

Asking this question is a great way to assess the working environment of the company and it gives you the opportunity to discover whether you'll fit in.

From the recruiters response you'll learn if and how the organisation prioritises employee happiness, of any benefits on offer and what the work-life balance is like.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Everybody loves to talk about themselves and this question enables you to build up a sense of camaraderie with your interviewer. It requires a personal response and you could learn a lot from their answer.

You'll get an insider's view of the company culture and working environment and you may even get to discover how your interviewer got their start in the business and how they progressed.

Other useful questions to ask at interview include those about:

  • performance appraisals
  • the team or department you'll be a part of
  • opportunities or challenges facing the department/company
  • company-specific projects or campaigns.

If the employer doesn't give an indication of what happens next a good way to wrap up the interview is by asking about the next steps and when you can expect to hear from them.

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