Questions you really should ask at your next job interview

Interview Tips & Guidance

We have all been there. The interview seems to be going well and then here it comes – “so do you have any questions for me?” Here are the best ways to handle this common question plus how you can put yourself above your competition.

To begin, you need to consider why the interviewer is asking the question.

 Of course, it may be that they are ‘old school’ trained and it’s just their standard technique to wrap up the interview and signal that it is coming to an end.

But it is most likely to be that they want to probe your interest to reveal more about you whilst at the same time giving you the genuine opportunity to ask anything they may not have covered.

 

What does this mean to you as a job seeker?

In a word, opportunity.

The opportunity to interact with the interviewer and grab the chance to further prove why they should employ you.

The opportunity to probe any areas of concern they may have and turn those negatives into positives.

And the opportunity to find out whether, if offered the position, you really would like to work there. Or not.

Let’s take each of these and see what they look like in practice.

 

Examples of how you can prove why they should employ you

 Despite this being such a common question, in reality, most people simply don’t prepare for it.

They don’t value its importance.

At best they mumble a couple of weak questions and, at worst, they clam up and end what could have been a strong interview with a disappointingly weak ending.

Remember, first impressions are powerful but last impressions will linger.

Prior to your interview, take the time to engage in some research.

Learn about the company’s latest projects, recent awards, culture and history.

Scan their Careers Pages too to see what you can find.

If you can show that you are genuinely interested in working for them in particular, and not just because they have an opening, it will put you above your competition.

This knowledge will help you throughout your interview but here are specific examples of question types related to this.

“I was really interested in this opportunity because of your (project name) and I wondered what other projects I might be involved with if I am successful?”

“I have heard that you are tendering for quite a bit of work at the moment. Which sectors are you concentrating on?”

“I saw that you implemented (some initiative). How has that gone within the company?

 

Examples of how to turn potential negatives into positives

 We always advise people to get feedback after their interviews but oftentimes it is hard to collect.

So, this is a way to get it right there and then in your interview – and give you a chance to allay any fears or concerns they may have about your suitability.

Don’t be confrontational about this though with questions such as “is there any reason why I might not get this job?”

Yes, I know you want to ask this but resist the temptation.

I know that some career advisors will encourage you to be bold and do this but, speaking as a recruiter, you don’t really want to be put your interviewer on the spot and it will come across as rather forceful and manipulative.

Instead, opt for questions such as these.

“What would I have to do to succeed in this role?”

“What are the challenges that the predecessor faced in this role?”

“What are you hoping to find from the next person to fill this role that was missing in the last?”

Use questions such as these to open a discussion where you can contribute with how you can provide what they want.

 

Examples of how to find out if you really want the job

 I know it might not always feel like it, but interviews are a 2-way street.

When you are at your next interview, remember that you are actually interviewing them back to see if you really want to work for their company.

This is why you need to put some effort into preparing questions that you personally want answers to on the day.

You can ask about a typical day, the teams you will be working in or leading, opportunities for continuous personal development, or particular projects or ventures.

Just make sure you have these prepared and with you in a notebook or printed out on a sheet so that they can see you have taken the interview seriously.

And, if they truly have answered all your prepared questions, you can thank them for being so thorough and gesture to your list when you tell them that they have covered all the questions you had prepared.

That is much better than just saying “no” when they ask if you have any questions or them.

And finally …

 

The one question you should never ask at interview

 Never ask about the salary at your interview.

Here are 3 reasons why

1 You need to get them to want you first

Concentrate on what you can offer them, why you are better than your competition and how you will fit seamlessly into their organisation.

2 You might aim too low

If you ask about the salary they will ask what you want, and you might crack under the pressure and sell yourself short in the process because you lack the confidence to say what you want.

If you go too low, the interviewer may sense your lack of self-worth and see this as a cause for concern.

And what if you put yourself in the uncomfortable situation of receiving a low offer that you can’t accept because in reality, you need more?

3 You might go too high

If you set a figure that is too high and out of their budgeted range, then there is little point in continuing the interview.

They won’t stop there and then but mentally they will have.

Good luck with that next interview and, if you would like more interview and job search advice, check out these online courses at the Hi Vis Club.

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About the Author

Amanda is the Co-Founder of the Hi Vis Box, the Hi Vis Club, and the Hi Vis Hub. When she isn’t developing companies known for innovative HR and recruitment solutions, she enjoys adding to her slightly obsessive pen collection, and is rather fond of Yorkshire Puddings, Guinness and being walked by an enormous dog called Henry.

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