What are the key questions to ask during a job interview (and why you should ask them)
At the beginning of most interviews, you will be informed when is the preferred time to ask questions. You may be asked to wait until the end of the interview, where you'll have the opportunity to pose questions of your own to gain any additional insight into the company and the roles you are applying for.
Why ask interview questions?
All too often, candidates spend time preparing their answers for common interview but don’t take the time to prepare questions to ask an interviewer. Knowing the right questions to ask can place you in a positive light, increasing your chances of receiving a job offer, it can also provide the information you need to decide if the position would suit you.
By asking questions in an interview, you have the opportunity to express you interest in the role and the answers can provide valuable insight into whether the role would be a good fit for you, if it aligns with your career goals and personal values.
Questions to ask an interviewer
It’s important to have prepared key questions to ask an interviewer, here are five questions for you to consider asking at your next interview:
1. Why does the role exist and where does it fit in?
As a job candidate, it is important to research the advertised role. You need to be confident that you have the abilities to do the job, that it fits your career progression plan, and that the rewards are proportionate to the responsibilities. Assessing the breadth of the role and its brief will also give you an idea whether there is scope to develop the role further and make your mark across the organisation.
Questions that you ask an interviewer about the role and its place within the organisation tells the prospective employer that you are serious about the job in question, careful and measured in your approach, but also eager to do well in the advertised position. Employers want to be sure they are hiring people who understand the job and are genuinely enthused about the opportunity on offer.
2. What is the culture of the company like?
If you are joining a new company, it is important that the culture and team you will be working with is the right fit. Ideally, you will be working alongside like-minded individuals with whom you will find it easy to build strong professional relationships. Employers on the other hand are eager to hire professionals who want to participate, and are going to work well with their colleagues and managers. This is one of the important interview questions to ask about, as it shows you care about where you work.
3. How is performance measured?
Every organisations measures performance differently, and it's important to know what you are signing up for. Will you be working in a competitive environment where your performance is solely measured on sales or will performance be measured on your net contribution, across a broad range of variables? One may suit better than the other, depending on your personal attributes and characteristics.
Employers want employees who are results-based and motivated to succeed. Asking questions about work processes and the means of evaluation suggests you are thoughtful, analytical, and eager to prove your value. This may convince the hiring manager that you will offer a great return on investment if you are given the job.
4. What career development prospects do you offer?
As an ambitious professional, it’s important to join a company which offers career progression opportunities to its employees. Otherwise, you could see your career stagnate in the months and years to come.
Employers want to hire engaged, motivated professionals - people who are willing to learn and eager to continually deliver the optimum result for their organisation. By asking an interviewer a question about what career development opportunities a company has, you are displaying interest in continual learning and development of your skills.
5. How does your business plan to overcome ‘x’?
Employers know the value of professionals who have sector-specific insight - who are in a position to contribute to strategic decision-making. By engaging with the employer on business issues, and offering informed opinions, you can set yourself apart from other candidates.
This is one of the important questions to ask an interviewer, as it highlights your commercial nous and knowledge of the wider business environment. Research how the business is performing, and what is happening in the industry, from there you should be able to formulate a business question. Just make sure you have answer or solution to the question before asking it.