Monday Motivation: The ultimate list of questions to ask during an interview

It can happen to the best of us. You’ve made it to the final interview stage, nailing each question they throw at you. Then you get to the final hurdle and they ask you; “So do you have any questions for us?”… You draw a blank. Nothing. And now the only thing you think to ask yourself is how did you forget to prepare interview questions for the recruiter?

Getting a mind block at this stage can happen to us all. But not if you’re prepared.

So remember what the end goal is with this part of the interview process. It’s a key opportunity to answer any hesitations the recruiter might have. But it is also an opportunity for you to find out if the role and company are right for you.

Get to know them, the role and the company

This is where your previous LinkedIn stalking can come in handy, as you can ask leading questions. For instance, if you find that you share a similar background like went to the same university you may ask; “When I was studying at [university], I found that I really enjoyed [enter skill/role] and that’s why I wanted to pursue this type of career. How did you get into [industry]?”

Leading questions with personal experiences will highlight similarities between you and the hiring manager, which might make you a more favourable candidate.

Ultimately the real reason anyone asks anyone a question is to find out something about them right? If you’re being interviewed by your potential future line manager, you want to know what kind of manager they are. You want to know if you are going to like working with them.

Some example questions include:

  • I’ve always try to continue to expand my knowledge on industry trends, how do you encourage learning within the department?
  • What do you enjoy most about working for [company]?
  • How long have you been with the company?
  • How involved are you in the day to day running of the department?
  • What does a typical day look like in the office?
  • What tools and software do you have in place?
  • Can you tell me of any challenges someone would may face in the role? N.B Be prepared to demonstrate how you would deal with this challenge.

Be genuine with your interview questions

Coming from my own experiences of interviewing potential candidates for my own team, it’s important to ensure you are genuine when asking your questions. You need to ask questions that are sincere and really show how you much you care about the role and finding out about the company.

One of my biggest pet peeves, is when a candidate asks questions that they have blatantly just googled! It is really obvious, and comes across lazy when you ask questions like “what are the main responsibilities and objectives of this position?”. Surely the hiring manager would have covered this. So it either makes you seem like you weren’t listening or are too lazy to think up of a genuine question.

A way around this is to highlight a specific point they mentioned and weave it into your question. Something like; “so you mention reporting is a key responsibility for this role, what else would you say is a central aspect of the role?”. This shows that you were listening and that you are curious enough to find out more.

Other interview questions you can ask include:

  • Can you tell me more about the team I’ll be working with?
  • Can you tell me about my direct reports?
  • What other departments will I be working closely with?
  • Are there any plans to expand the team even more?
  • Is there anything you can tell me about upcoming product launches or plans for growth?
  • How would you describe the work environment here?

Find out what you need to know & tell them what they need to know

This is a critical part of the interview process and asking the right question is only half of it. The other half is an opportunity for you to sell yourself, so be sure to highlight certain positive aspects. This will also help frame your question with context as to why you are asking it.

An obvious but difficult question to ask would be; “is there anything that concerns you in terms of my skills and previous experience?”. This question opens you up to criticism so can be difficult to ask, but it will also give you an opportunity to expel any concerns they may have.

It’s also important to follow up on the answers they give to your question. It should feel like a conversation, so naturally their answer should lead on to your next question. There’s nothing worse then your next question being completely unrelated. This just makes you sound like you’re reeling questions you’ve listed beforehand and not actually caring about their response.

Other questions you could ask include:

  • At my last company I was a member of the running club. Are there any extra-curricular groups or activities hosted by the company?
  • What would you consider your biggest weakness right now in comparison to your competitors?
  • Outside of the key goals you mentioned earlier, what else will I be responsible for?
  • How did the vacancy come about, is it a new role?
  • Can I answer any final questions for you?

For further information there are some other great online resources to help you on your job search journey. I recommend checking out The Muse for their career advice as well as The Balance’s career advice section.

The key takeaway with any of these interview questions is to ensure you are able to highlight your compatibility as well as find the answers to your own concerns on the role or company.

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