The 10 Best Questions to Ask in a Job Interview
Whether it’s over the phone, a virtual meeting, or face-to-face, all of us get a little nail-biting nervous when it comes to a big job interview.
We tend to practice answering common interview questions, research the company and role description, bracing ourselves for whatever may come our way, but what about that inevitable part at the end of every interview when your potential employer asks, “Do you have any questions?”
Often we end up freezing and shake our heads ‘no’, eager to finish up so we can take a deep breath and calm our nerves - but what if we told you we could help make that experience run a little smoother so you could leave with the confidence that you’ll be a memorable candidate?
Below you’ll find the 10 best questions to ask in a job interview that are sure to keep the conversation going and score you big brownie points.
What to Ask and Why
1. “What will I be doing during a typical day?”
While you’d hope that the answer to this question would be covered in the job description you read before applying, oftentimes there’s a lot more to a role than what can be covered in a few bullet points.
That’s why it’s a great idea to ask for your interviewer to elaborate on what your day-to-day responsibilities will look like so you have a clear picture of what to expect. Even if the role varies significantly from day to day, you need to know what you’re getting into should you be offered the job.
Asking this question will also tell the interviewer that you’re interested in more than just a paycheque and that you’re thorough before jumping into anything too quickly (which tends to be a great quality in top candidates).
2. “What would you say is the most challenging part of the role?”
You want to know what challenges you might come to face in a new position, and without question, you want the interviewer to know that you’re ready and willing to face those challenges head-on - ideally giving examples of challenging experiences in your past roles that you helped overcome. This is your chance to show your drive, tenacity, and high level of perseverance.
A great follow-up question (or alternative question) here could also be asking about the specific challenges the company is facing under the current circumstances and how they’re addressing them.
Asking this question can give you insight into the current industry trends and help you identify areas where your skills may be put to the best use.
3. “How would my performance be measured?”
It’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of not only how a company measures success, but how the company measures the success of its employees.
You’ll want to know the key performance indicators (KPIs) for the role, how they’re measured and how often they’re measured.
Knowing how you’ll be assessed should you be the chosen candidate will give you further insight into how you can do the job to the best of your ability and prove your value to the business along the way.
4. “What opportunities would there be to progress beyond this role?”
This question is perfect for showing the interviewer that you’re keen to go above and beyond and progress your professional development.
Here you’re listening for whether there are genuine growth opportunities, career coaching opportunities, and/or if the company has a solid Learning & Development programme.
If the interviewer doesn’t have much to offer you in their answer to this question and there’s little wiggle room to advance, consider whether you consider this a red flag or whether the role would still be a useful stepping stone for your career if you were to take it.
5. “What new policies/changes have been put in place within the company since the pandemic began, and what changes will remain moving forward?”
This is a great way to demonstrate your genuine interest in the role. The question will help you gain a better understanding of how your prospective employer has been able to navigate through the shifting economic landscape, providing insight into their priorities as a company and how they’ve come to better manage their employees while adapting to these unprecedented times.
For example, have they encouraged flexible and/or remote working? Have their safety measures been adequately updated to keep employees feeling safe? Do they feel confident in closing any lingering skills gaps?
You can even ask what opportunities the post-pandemic landscape has presented to the company or what pain points and challenges they’re facing now that the world is getting back to normal.
6. “Where do you see the company in a few years’ time?”
This question is an important one to ask, especially in light of the recent pandemic, because before taking on a new role with a new company, you want to be sure that they see their company growing (and hopefully flourishing) down the line.
This question is especially important if you’re interviewing with a promising start-up company or perhaps a business that’s recently been set back by the pandemic and is getting back on its feet.
However, this question will also show the hiring manager that you’re interested in the future of the company and how your future aligns with it.
7. “What qualities does your ideal candidate possess for this role?”
Provided this role isn’t new, your interviewer will have a good idea of what qualities they’re looking for in their chosen candidate. Some typical qualities employers might look for include:
- Leadership skills
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Adaptability and flexibility
- A high level of professionalism
- Analytical skills, and
- A strong work ethic
So, if you know you bring some - or all - of these qualities to the table, don’t be afraid to talk yourself up a little and showcase why you’re a good fit (or the best fit) for the role.
8. “How would you describe the company culture?”
We feel that this question is among the best to ask in an interview because the answer should give you valuable insight into whether you’ll mesh well with the current working environment and show the hiring manager that you care about finding the right cultural fit in your next role.
It should also help you learn whether the company places emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and employee wellness - all incredibly vital elements to an effective working culture (now more than ever).
To add, you’ll also ideally gain a concise overview of the company’s working philosophy and how it prioritises employees in the workplace.
9. “What has kept you at this company? What do you enjoy most about it?”
It’s likely that your interviewer has been at the company for some time, and as a semi-extension of the question above, this one is fantastic in that it builds rapport and takes away some of the focus on your more ‘hard-hitting’ questions, and makes for a more light-hearted conversation.
It also gives you the opportunity to get to know the hiring manager and see the company and its positive attributes through their eyes - hopefully, all the more enticing your interest in the company and the available role.
10. “What are the next steps after this interview?”
While this might seem to be too obvious to ask, this question will give you an idea of when you can expect to hear back about your interview and shows that you’re eager to move forward with the interview process.
It can also be used as a chance to address any time-sensitive items your interviewer should know about you (i.e. other offers you’re considering, relocation, or transportation arrangements).
Being transparent from the get-go helps things run smoothly - not to mention it can cause your potential employer to accelerate their hiring process to get you on board should they see that you’re the right candidate and want to avoid you being scooped up by a competitor.
Some Additional Tips
While it’s great to come to an interview prepared with questions that relate to the company and the role itself, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind to ensure you’re asking the best, most important questions and to avoid any stumbles:
- Ask questions that require more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response, but none that require too broad an answer where concise responses prove too difficult.
- Be sure not to ask any more than, ideally, three questions post-interview, but have more prepared so you can pick and choose which are most appropriate come the time (avoid anything too obvious).
- Stay away from questions that focus too much on how you’d benefit from accepting the job as this can sometimes read as pretentious.
- Hold off on any questions related to salary and/or benefits until you’re in the negotiations stage of accepting the role.
- If the interviewer has answered all of the questions you meant to ask throughout the course of the interview, let them know what you were going to ask anyway. This will give you time to clarify and confirm the answers.
We hope that this blog has helped you gather some good questions to ask an interviewer that will show you’re not only keen to fill the open position but that will help you sail through the interview process with ease.
Remember, the best interview questions are ones that are mutually beneficial, driving further conversation and easy rapport.
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