Here are 11 questions you should always ask in a job interview, if they weren’t already answered, to help you get a better sense of the role and the company, and to help you prepare for the next steps:
- Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare?
- Who held this position previously? Why is he/she leaving the role?
- What do you like most about working for this company?
- Can you walk me through the typical day of someone in this role?
- How do you evaluate success here?
- How would you describe the company’s culture?
- Will I have an opportunity to meet those who would be part of my staff/my manager during the interview process?
- Can you tell me what steps need to be completed before your company can generate an offer?
- What distinguishes this company from its competitors?
- Is there anyone else I need to meet with?/Is there anyone else you would like me to meet with?
- What’s your timeline for making a decision, and when can I expect to hear back from you
- What are the most enjoyable and the least enjoyable aspects of the role?
This can show that you like to know what sort of challenge you are going to face and that you like to get properly prepared for it, all in the expectation of being able to rise to it.
• You mentioned there will be a lot of presenting/researching/liaising; what do your most successful people find satisfying about this part of the role?
This question can serve two purpose; it demonstrates your listening skills and associates you with being successful in the role and finding it satisfying.
• What types of training opportunities do you offer?
This is a classic question – it highlights that you’re keen to advance your skills and add further value to the organisation.
• Is there scope for promotion in the future?
This is another classic question. In a similar vein, it emphasises a determination to make progress and over the long term.
• Can you tell me how the role relates to the overall structure of the organisation?
With this question you’re drawing attention to a preference for teamwork. It looks as though you want to know where you would fit in and how your contribution would affect the rest of the company.
• How would you describe the work culture here?
This signals that you want to operate at your optimum and understand that for this you require a positive environment. This indicates you’re a good self-manager who is aware of how to get the best out of yourself.
• In what way is performance measured and reviewed?
This question flags up that you appreciate the importance of delivering real results. You will be seen as someone who understands the value of commitment, reliability and returns.
• What are the most important issues that you think your organisation will face? or • You have recently introduced a new product/service/division/project; how will this benefit the organisation?
These variations both show that you are interested in the job and employer behind it too. It will be apparent you have done some research, done some thinking, and are now eager to hear their analysis.
• May I tell you a little more about my particular interest in communicating with clients/developing new ideas/implementing better systems?
This is a cheeky and obvious way of getting permission to blow your own trumpet but then that’s what this interview is all about.
• Do you have any doubts about whether I am suited to this position?
This is a rather more brazen way of emphasising some of your strengths. It suggests you are open to constructive criticism and willing to learn from the experience of others. It also gives you a real chance to address any weaknesses the interviewee may think you have. Finally, it allows you to finish on a high, re-stating why you think you are the right person.