Posted 04 March 2015 | 1 Comment

At the end of a job interview, you will usually be given the opportunity to ask your own questions. You may feel that you have been given all the standard information you need (salary, hours, benefits, etc.) but it shows a keen interest in the role and that you’ve really thought about your application if you are ready with questions when offered the chance.

Well planned questions can give you a much better insight into the company and the role and will help you make a more informed decision should you be offered the job.

There are any number of things you can ask, but variations on the following are what we think will give you the best chance of leaving both you and the interviewer feeling like you have really explored your future as a potential employee…

1. What would the average day look like for me?

This seems like such a simple question and one you’d assume you could answer from checking out the role responsibilities on the job specification / advert, but it’s worth keeping in mind that when writing the job spec, the hiring manager will have listed a whole host of tasks and there will be some you’ll end up doing occasionally but aren’t actually representative of your average day.

If the aspects of the role that caught your attention (or those that might be putting you off) actually turn out to be tasks you’ll only do once in a blue moon, your view on the role could alter dramatically and its best you know that before you make your mind up.

2. How would you describe the company culture?

Everyone is different, that’s why black and white job spec vs. CV skills matching isn’t enough to make an informed decision in the long run. You could have every qualification and all the experience needed for a role but if your personality and style of working doesn’t match the way the business operates you will not be happy, and they may not be either. Grab every opportunity to work this out before you take the leap and join a new business.

Do you hate feeling micro managed? Maybe you crave close leadership and direction? A team driven atmosphere might be the dream for one person but, for the lone wolf, an absolute nightmare. That’s why it’s so important to get a feel of how a business works, what the people are like and how you will be expected to work. If it doesn’t fit, walk away. If it does, at least try to wait until you’re out of sight before you begin your victory dance . (We love a good victory dance.)

3. Can you give some examples of career progression within the team?

The beauty of this question is that it gives you the information you need to work out how common development opportunities are while making clear to the hiring manager that you are serious about sticking with the company in the long term. Win, win!

4. In this role or similar, who has been your best performer and why?

This is a great way to find out what it takes to be seen as a great performer, and what success looks like to the company. The reasons given to explain why someone has excelled can be a great insight for you; are they seen to have done well because of training, their team, a particular attitude or something else? Once you know this, you will know what would be on offer for you, and what will be expected of you if you secure the role. – It can’t hurt to size up your competition either!

5. You’ve mentioned training, what can I expect after joining your business in both the short and long term?

Now obviously this only works if they have actually mentioned training but you can tweak the wording if not!

Training is a big deal. If you’re joining a company who like things done a certain way, you can be sure you will need to learn how! It’s also vital for fast tracked career progression. Make sure to find out what’s on offer and, importantly, what may be expected of you in your own time.

6. (If appropriate) Tell me why you joined the business, why you’ve stayed and what future you see for yourself here?

This question really depends on the feel of the room, the rapport you’ve built with the interviewer and their position in the business. If it feels right, go ahead and ask. The answer you get can be a really great way to determine the answers you’d give to these questions a few years down the line if you took the job. They should be able to see a bright future with the business, otherwise why would you?

7. Do you have any reservations about me or my ability to do this job?

This is a really important question to ask. Make sure you are there to defend yourself against any reservations as your CV and recruiter (if you have one) can only do so much after the fact. It is also vital for your peace of mind that you leave knowing what challenges you might be faced with rather than being surprised later.

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