Ask the right questions to
ensure your interview conversation
is a two-way street.
Ask the right questions and your interview will be less like a one-sided interrogation, and more like an actual conversation. So when your interviewer asks if you have any questions, this is your opportunity to create engagement and build a dialogue, while gleaning valuable information.
Not only that, but when it comes to the right questions to ask at an interview, this is your one opportunity to stand out from the crowd. By asking some really thoughtful and thought-provoking interview questions rather than just replying with the standard “No, I think you’ve covered everything”, you’re more likely to leave a lasting impression in your interviewer’s mind.
So here they are – our top 7 questions to ask at an interview so you dazzle your prospective employer – and 3 others to definitely avoid.
1. Why is the position vacant?
It’s always interesting to know why the position became available. Was it because it’s a newly created role, or was the previous employee promoted? If so, that bodes well for your opportunities for growth. However, if the previous employee was fired, resigned or was made redundant, you might want to consider the role more carefully.
2. What do you most enjoy about working here?
This is a very good question to ask in an interview – because it invites your interviewer to connect with you more personally, enables you to get a better insight into the working culture of the place and clarifies the key benefits of working there. If they struggle to reply, that also gives you valuable information about the company.
3. What type of skills and experience would the ideal candidate have?
This coaxes your employer to reveal exactly what they’re looking for and lets you better understand if you’re the right fit. If any skill sets are mentioned you haven’t already covered, it gives you the opportunity to highlight them before the interview finishes.
4. How would you describe the working culture here?
It’s often hard to get a real-world sense of what it would be like to work for a particular company from a formal interview – so this is a great question to give you more personalised insight.
5. Can people develop quickly here?
This question shows the interviewer that you’re ambitious and committed to learning and growth – and it also gives you information on whether there is actual opportunity to develop and progress.
6. Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
Not only is this question phrased to plant a positive seed in the interviewer’s mind about you working there, but the answer will reveal something about the people you’ll be working closely with, and whether you’re likely to work well with them or not.
7. What are the next steps from here?
This is a good question to finish off with. It shows you’re interested in the role and the process, and that you’re ready to move forward to the next stage – and with a bit of luck, your interviewer might tell you how many others you’re up against, enabling you to better rate your chances.
And finally, 3 questions to avoid asking at an interview
1. Could you tell me a bit more about what your company does?
Employers expect you to do the work to find out about their company beforehand. Asking this question shows a lack of initiative and prior preparation.
2. What is the salary?
A first interview is generally not the time to ask about salary. It is better to wait until the interviewer raises the issue in due course, when you are at the offer stage or at least when you have returned for a subsequent interview.
3. I have a holiday booked quite soon – can I get time off?
This is a little inappropriate to ask at this stage in the process. Instead, wait until you get the offer before negotiating any prior commitments.