There aren’t many guarantees in life, but being asked “Do you have any questions?” at the end of a job interview is almost as guaranteed as night following day, death following life and England not winning the World Cup – sorry, couldn’t resist! If it’s an almost 100% certainty that you will be asked if you have some questions, it makes perfect sense to prepare your questions to ask at a job interview in advance.
All too often, candidates don’t have any questions prepared and this makes them appear disinterested with the company and the job role. Can you imagine that you have just completed your interview; you are pleased it went well and are confident that you will get the job? Now imagine that there is another candidate with the same thoughts – they have questions prepared to ask the interviewer, but you do not. If the interviewer has to decide between these two equally suitable candidates, guess who is going to get the job? Clue – it’s not you!
For many recruiters, interviewers and hiring managers, lack of preparation and not showing an interest in the organisation or position is an absolute deal breaker, so it is crucial to your success that you give some questions to ask your full attention.
Here’s 8 Questions to Ask at a Job Interview
Here are 8 questions that you can ask at your next job interview. You don’t have to ask them all or you can change the wording to suit the job role and your circumstances. Use them as a base for your own questions and alter them accordingly.
1. “How many people are in the team and how is it structured?”
Questions about the working environment are always good to ask as they allow the interviewer to see that you are starting to visualise yourself in the job role. You also need to find out if you will be working alone or in a large team, what the hierarchy looks like and gauge how you think you will fit in.
2. “What do you like most about working for the company?”
I love this question! Ask the interviewer what they like (and sometimes dislike) about the organisation rather than their job role itself. As you are face-to-face with them, you will be able to see how sincere they are with their answer!
3. “Can you describe to me a typical day in the job?”
Often the job description only gives an overview of the job role, so this question should provide an answer where you will be able to ascertain whether the position is actually right for you. Is your typical day going to be really hectic or is is going to be like taking the slow boat to China? Whatever you prefer, asking about a typical day will help your decision to accept or decline the job role should you be made an offer.
4. “What would you say is the most challenging aspect of the role?”
Most interviewers only describe the lovely aspects of the job role and will only get down to the nitty gritty or challenging parts when asked. You need to know this information!
5. “What are the long term goals of the company?”
A popular question during a job interview is “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?” Question 5 is similar, only you will be asking that of the interviewer rather than the other way round. It can be exciting to hear that the company is planning to expand, develop new product lines or hire more staff and that will help you to see yourself working there long term. If the answer is that they are relocating oversees next year and will be making redundancies, you may not want to commit your future career to there.
6. “If I am successful in this role, what would be a typical career path?”
It’s OK if you are not ambitious, but if you are, it is always a good idea to lay your cards on the table early on in the recruitment process by showing your interest in career progression. Whatever you do though, don’t sound like you are ruthless and want the boss’ job!
7. “Do you have any concerns that we can discuss in more detail in order for me to be the top candidate?”
This is a great question and allows the interviewer to see that you are serious about the job role. There may be parts of the interview that you are not sure whether they went well or if you didn’t provide enough information, so this will give you the chance to elaborate further. Another point to note is that the interviewer may be thinking that they have other candidates that are more highly skilled or experienced, so if you invite them to voice their concerns, you have a perfect opportunity to upsell how fabulous you are right there and then. Lovely!
8. “When can I expect to hear from you?”
For your own sanity, you need to know the answer to this question! It’s a horrible feeling hanging in limbo after a job interview, waiting for the phone to ring and wondering if they have made a decision yet. Ask when you can expect to hear if you have been successful will also prompt the interviewer to describe any other stage of the interview process, such as a second interview, a presentation or assessment centre, for example.
Write your questions down in a notebook and take it with you. That way, you won’t forget which questions you would like to hear the answers for and it will show the interviewer that you have prepared.
Do you get tongue tied in a job interview? Read my article on 10 things to NOT say during a job interview here.
For more tips on preparation techniques, read How to Prepare for a Job Interview here.