In this article we are exploring the pivotal point in a job interview where suddenly, it’s not just about answering questions – it’s about asking them too. Asking the right questions can make all the difference in showcasing your initiative, preparation, commitment, and dedication to continuous development. Moreover, never forget an interview is as important for the job-seeker to determine whether the company and the role is right for them, as it is for the Hiring Manager to deem whether the candidate is a good fit for the job.
We’ll explore why it’s crucial to ask well-thought-out questions during an interview and provide you with a list of the top 10 questions that will leave a lasting positive impression on your potential employer.
The Importance of Asking Questions in an Interview
1. Demonstrates Your Enthusiasm:
When you ask questions during an interview, it shows your genuine interest in the company and the role. It’s a clear signal that you’ve taken the time to research and want to learn more. This will set you apart, as it’s surprising how many candidates do not do their due diligence and research prior to an interview and wonder why they come across as ‘disinterested’ in feedback later.
2. Reveals Your Preparedness:
Well-thought-out questions reflect your prior research on the company and industry. It demonstrates that you’re not there to simply go through the motions but have invested time in understanding the company’s background and challenges.
3. Displays Your Commitment:
By asking questions about the company’s goals, mission, and values, you convey your eagerness to align with their culture and long-term vision. This can be particularly appealing to employers seeking candidates with a strong cultural fit.
4. Showcases Your Initiative & Skills:
Thoughtful questions about the role, team dynamics, and opportunities for growth reveal your proactive nature and your willingness to take ownership of your career path. Furthermore, asking questions is a HUGE part of being a good Recruitment Consultant – if you can ask questions to find out more in an interested but non-pushy manner you will be showing the Hiring Team your skills.
5. Emphasises Continuous Development:
Inquiring about training, mentorship programs, and avenues for skill development showcases your commitment to personal and professional growth. This is also very important for you to know when weighing up your options.
The Top 10 Questions to Ask in an Interview
In no particular order, here are some questions that we would deem as excellent questions to demonstrate the advantages the above. Don’t ask them all and many will hopefully be answered during the course of the interview, but select a few that are important to you and make sure that you have a well-thought-out and insightful questions to ask when you are asked the question “Is there anything you would like to ask us?”
1. Why Is This Position Available?
The response to this question can provide you with a better understanding of whether the previous employee was promoted, made a lateral move within the company, left voluntarily, or was let go. Understanding the context of the position’s availability can offer insights into the company’s career advancement opportunities, employee retention, and even potential challenges within the team.
Furthermore, if this is a newly created role, it’s beneficial to inquire about the reasons behind its inception. Knowing the history behind the position’s creation can shed light on the company’s growth plans, strategic initiatives, and how this role contributes to the organization’s future success.
By asking this question, you also demonstrate your commitment to making an informed decision about your potential fit within the company while gaining a deeper understanding of its internal dynamics and the role’s significance in its overall structure.
2. Can You Describe the Typical Career Progression for Someone in This Role?
This question shows you’re thinking long-term and want to understand how this role fits into your career trajectory. Depending on the role you are applying for and what stage you are at in your career, this could be an integral question to ask.
Many employers don’t want to hire people who are satisfied working the same job for the rest of their careers – they want to see drive and ambition.
3. What Are the Key Challenges or Goals for the Team/Department/Company in the Coming Year?
Demonstrates your interest in contributing to the company’s success and your willingness to tackle challenges head-on. It could also lead to an opportunity for you to discuss a situation that you’ve been in the passed that’s relevant and where you have been able to help the team achieve similar goals or overcome certain challenges.
4. Can You Tell Me More About the Company Culture and Values?
Signals your desire to align with the company’s ethos and work within a supportive and culturally fitting environment, and that you are interested in more than just a paycheck.
Even better, if you can be more specific when asking about company culture and values, this will showcase a bit more thought has gone into the question e.g.
- “What kind of employee tends to thrive in this company’s culture?” – Does this fit inline with you?
- “What makes you proud to work at this company?” – Good if not interviewing with the Founder or Management Team
- “Is risk-taking encouraged, and what happens when people fail?” – This one can be very insightful.
5. How Does the Company Support Employee Development and Continuous Learning?
Underlines your commitment to ongoing improvement and your desire to stay relevant in your field. Companies want to hire employees who are interested in constantly learning, growing, and evolving. Show the interviewer that this is a priority by asking about training, continuing education, and mentoring opportunities.
6. What About This Position is Most Important?
This is an important and good question to ask in a job interview because it can help you get insight into the new position and how it fits into the network of the company.
Here you can really start to hone in on the role that you are interviewing for. Ideally, if you haven’t done the job before you will have done your research. If you have gone through an agency, talk to your Recruiter about the role, if you have any questions before the interview your Recruiter can try and find out the answers if they aren’t detailed on the job description. It is in your Recruiter’s best interest for you to succeed so they should do what they can to answer your questions and prepare you for the interview.
7. What Does Success Look Like in This Role in the First 30/60/90 Days?
This expands on the question above. It shows your eagerness to make an immediate impact and helps you understand the company’s expectations.
Also be prepared to answer this question if they get to it first! If they have already asked you this question, you could instead ask “How is performance measured for this position?” if it hasn’t already been explained.
8. Can You Describe the Team I’ll Be Working With?
Demonstrates your interest in team dynamics and your readiness to collaborate effectively. It will also give you better insight into how the company is structured i.e. who you report to and the department that the role sits within.
Follow up Question: What behaviours do the most successful members of the team exhibit?
9. What is the Process From Now? When is it Likely I Will Hear Back From You?
Not only does this question indicate your active interest in the position, but it also helps set clear expectations for the post-interview timeline. It’s a proactive step to ensure you’re not left in a state of uncertainty, eagerly awaiting a response without knowing when to anticipate it. By asking this question, you exhibit professionalism and respect for your own time and the hiring process.
10. Is There Anything About my Application That Makes you Doubt my Qualifications (or Fit for this Role)?
This might seem like a bold and terrifying question to ask. And in many ways it is; you are asking whether there is any reason why the hiring manager wouldn’t want to extend you an offer. However, if you have the courage to ask this, you stand to gain a better sense of the next steps in the hiring process and an opportunity to address any reservations that the hiring manager might have about your candidacy while you still have his or her attention.
In addition, by are asking this question you are showing them you welcome feedback and you can take criticism. It can also help you better prepare for your next interview (if necessary).
Asking thoughtful questions during an interview is a powerful way to set yourself apart from other candidates. It not only showcases your initiative, preparation, and commitment but also opens up valuable dialogues that can help you assess whether the company and role are the right fit for your long-term career goals. So, next time you step into an interview room, remember that your questions can be just as impactful as your answers.