It’s common for candidates to fixate on the questions they might be asked in an interview, but often, the questions that will make the biggest impression on the interviewer aren’t what you might think; confused?
The key questions are the ones YOU actually ask.
In an interview, candidates will generally be given a chance to ask any questions they have about the role, normally towards the end of the interview. Often, this last question, the deceptively simple ‘Do you have any questions for us about the role’, can make even the best candidates scramble for inspiration, particularly when they felt the ‘hard part’ was already over.
You might not think this question is important- after all, it’s not one of the ‘real’ interview questions, is it? Surely you can just say ‘No, I think you’ve covered it all’?
Well I’m here to tell you that opting out of this question is a big mistake. Not only will you get the opportunity to understand more about the role, but perhaps even more importantly, it gives you the chance to ask some intelligent, confident questions that show that you’re well-researched and can take initiative.
This question is very much a ‘real’ interview question, and it’s perhaps one of the most important of them all to get right. With this question, the ball’s in your court, and they want to see what you do with it.
Only you know the questions that you really need the answers to for a particular role, but let us give you some inspiration with our top 5 questions to ask in an interview.
1. I’d like to see myself with the company in the long-term. Are there good training opportunities in my role so I can advance in future?
This is a question that historically many people have shied away from, thinking it marks them out as wanting a promotion before they’ve even got the job they’ve applied for. Leave that thinking behind: as long as you make it clear that you’re in it for the long-term, you’ve just marked yourself out as keen and ambitious.
2. What kind of time-frame can I expect to hear an answer in?
Some candidates feel uncomfortable asking this question as they feel it might be presumptuous or perceived as being pushy. However, it’s an important question for you to know, and it signals to the interviewer that you are confident and consider your own time valuable.
3. What’s the company culture like?
These days, hiring managers tend to understand how important it is to get cultural fit right, so they will appreciate you making the effort to understand how you’ll work with the existing team.
4. How will my performance be monitored? What will my success look like?
This is a good question because it shows that you’re open to performance reviews and want to know how you’re doing. This is a really attractive trait in a candidate as many people struggle with performance appraisals, whereas you’re actively seeking out information on how you can meet expectations. This question also provides you vital information about whether you’ll be working to clear targets or whether it’s a more unstructured performance appraisal.
5. What’s the current goal or challenge for the department/company?
This question is best delivered if you feel the interview has gone really well and you have a good rapport with the interviewer. This gives you extremely powerful ‘behind the scenes’ information to take away with you, whether for the next round of interviews or when you begin the job. This question also marks you out as someone who takes initiative and wants to move the company towards its goals.
Candidates often thinking asking ‘brave questions’ in interviews is about being brash and talking about money and other financial benefits. Nothing could be further from the truth- these compensation questions should never be asked until the job is actually offered.
On the other hand, asking good questions about the role itself and how you fit into it, are extremely clever questions that mark you out as a good hire.