The 10 Best Questions To Ask At Interview

“Have you got any questions?”

Yeah. Loads actually.

“Why’s it absolutely boiling in here?”

“Can I go to the toilet an hour and a half ago?”

“When did I lose the ability to string a sentence together?”

Apart from cocking up the handshake at the start, the questions at the end of interviews can be the nerviest bit. Especially with an empty brain.

So these are good to dish out to your in-process candidates as well as managing your own job search. Although what you’re asking’s going to depend on who your interviewer is.

Questions you’d ask an Internal Recruiter are different to ones you’d ask the CEO.

In any case, the round of questions at the end of an interview’s a chance to sell yourself. As well as get all the info you need to make an informed decision on whether you want to progress or not.

Here’s 10 questions that’ll do just that.

1

Cheers to Ben Browning, Training Manager at Venn Group, for this one.

It’s a simple and clear way to extract need-to-know information. And it works by framing the question in a familiar, positive context.  What you’re really looking for here is any discrepancies in what you’ve already been told:

“If the answer is anything they didn’t already tell you then it’s time to find somewhere else to deliver your value”

That obviously depends on whether it’s a dealbreaker or not. If it turns out parking’s actually a bit of a nightmare, it might be a concession you’re willing to make.

If they tell you the bit on the spec that says “flexible working” is just something the TA lot put in for a laugh, then yeah, maybe look elsewhere.

2

You’re asking specifically about what metrics you’d need to hit in months 1, 2 and 3 to impress enough to coast through your first review. The advantage here is that you’ve got a chance to reel off examples of how you’ve hit similar milestones.

It shows a commitment to not only getting through the interview but passing your probation as well. That kind of assumptive questioning can make the journey from being sat in front of the panel to taking a seat at your new desk a bit more tangible in the eyes of the interviewer.

3

You’re finding out whether the job’s a dead ender or if there’s room to grow. Interviewers don’t mind being quizzed on previous success stories at the company: it gives them a chance to brag about their highest performers.

That alone opens up avenues of conversation which can extend interviews a bit. Not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your level of confidence. More time could equal more opportunities to sell yourself.

It can also mean more time to cock up. And less time to ask other questions. Not to mention there’s something to be said about punchy interviews wrapping up with time to spare. Particularly if being concise and impactful’s part of your new role.

4

One for line managers and the C-suite. Management think about this a lot and will have something to say on the matter.

Consider the difference in phrasing it like this and “what are you like to work for?”

Sounds like a personal question but by specifying what their staff think it takes the onus away from their opinions of themselves.

Remember to check Glassdoor when you get home if you haven’t already. If what they’ve said lines up with what’s been written about them, that’s probably a good sign.

“If your best friend was the perfect candidate for this role, what would you want them to know before hiring them_” (1)

Some employers get a bit funny if you ask who their competitors are. It’s good for you to know and this is an indirect way of asking.

Although primarily, it’s a way of understanding the ambitions of the business, their position in the market, and what their strategy is to remain (or become) competitive. And the answer you’ll get is usually better than “we want to be the best at what we do”.

As with any probing, open question, if your interviewer isn’t the most open book, it could be a sign they’ve already made their mind up about you.

6

You’re asking three questions in one here:

i) Why’d you join?

ii) Why’d you stay?

iii) What’s changed?

As you know, most people’s motivations for joining and staying at a company are deeply personal. Tapping into that opens doors to building rapport and unearths extra insight on the company.

Compare your motivations to theirs. Are their reasons for joining consistent with their reasons for staying?

Is what they’re saying about staying good enough for you to join in the first place?

7

It makes sense to gauge whether the team you’re walking into’s a well-functioning one or not. Be wary of interviewers that say there’s never been conflict. While that might be true, it’s unlikely. And the depth of this answer – or not – could be a dealbreaker.

8

You’re asking whether the role’s disposable or not. Take platitudes with a pinch of salt. “This position’s business critical” doesn’t always hold up when the turd meets the fan.

So asking what would need to happen for the role to be secure’s a way of guarding against that. It also gives you a greater idea of the role’s expectations outside the job spec.

Hitting your KPIs is one thing. Cementing your place with that company’s other.

9

Then ask them why.

Then ask how.

Again, this will be something they’ve thought about. Also again, be wary of non-commital answers that paint a picture of a perfect company. Might be the case. Isn’t likely.

Ideally you’ll get a surface-level understanding of your interviewer’s frustrations. But also their ambition. And if that matches yours, you could be onto a winner.

10

This turns the questioning back on the panel. From experience, you’ll find it’s an unexpected question. Which means the response can be pretty honest.

If you’ve absolutely smashed the interview, they’ll tell you.

You can embellish a little more if you need to.

“Is there anything I can explain in more detail? Or any issues I can clear up?”

Should there be a sticking point or two, having the opportunity to thrash it out there and then is infinitely better than heading home to a sleepless night worrying you’ve not done enough.

This is also where you’ll start seeing interviewers talking themselves into taking a chance on a 50/50 candidate. Although if you’ve stuffed it, there’s nothing more telling than:

“Nope. All good. We’ll be in touch”.

Obviously, this listicle isn’t exhaustive. And everyone has their own solid gold questions they swear by. Send me yours on LinkedIn and we’ll publish another 10 in a future article.

For in-process candidates, dishing out example questions as part of your prep can help settle nerves, focus on objectives, and differentiate you from your competitors who just say “it’s an interview, so dress smart” and cross their fingers.

If you’re looking for a new role yourself, check out the open jobs on Hunted and read How to Succeed in a Recruitment Interview to start and finish your job search on a high.

 

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