A successful interview isn’t just about answering a potential employer’s questions in a way that persuades them you have the right experience, skills and knowledge for the job.
Of course, that’s a really crucial part of nailing an interview, but another important aspect is the questions you ask the interviewers.
Asking questions during an interview demonstrates that you’re interested in their company, you’re curious about what they do and how they work – and you’ll come across as engaged, enthusiastic and committed. These are all characteristics that a potential employer will be looking for. Additionally, by asking questions you’ll be able to highlight any skills and experience you have that may not have been covered during your interview, or that you feel are particularly important to the role you’ve applied for.
It’s a good idea to give some thought to the questions you’ll ask as well, so you can go into the interview feeling prepared and confident (and if you need a little extra boost, interview coaching can also help with that).
So, what questions should you ask in an interview? Here are five interview questions that we would recommend asking:
- Can you describe the company culture?
- What do I need to accomplish in the first three months?
- How do you see this role evolving over the next five years?
- What do you like most about working here?
- Which areas may the team need to improve in?
Let’s look at each question in a little more detail…
Top questions to ask during an interview
1. Please can you describe the company’s culture?
Why ask this question? Well, it shows you if you’d be the right fit for the organisation. By getting a sense of the company’s values, you can measure them against your own. It’s important that you fit into a company’s culture because you’re more likely to get a boost in job satisfaction, your performance will likely be better than average and you’ll probably stay with the same company for longer.
Note, it’s important to ask about both the positive and negative aspects of the culture. While the interviewer might not give anything too negative away, you’ll probably get a good all-round sense if you ask them something they don’t like about the culture.
2. What would I need to do in this role to impress you in the first three to six months?
Asking this question shows you what the company would expect from you from the moment you start the job. It gives you an idea of the scope of the role while also giving you pointers on how to achieve their expectations should you get the job.
It’s also a good idea to prepare some notes on what you think you should accomplish in that time frame. Doing this will show the interviewer that you’ve put thought into a plan of action and the types of goals or objectives you’d like to achieve. Let that enthusiasm shine through!
3. How do you see this role evolving over the next five years?
Asking this question shows a commitment to the organisation as well as long-term thinking, two things that employers greatly value.
The answer will give you an insight into the company’s vision for the future and how your team and your role will play a part in that. Of course, it would be very telling if they don’t have an answer to this question as it would mean that they may not have a good long-term plan or strategic approach. It’s best to investigate any alarm bells that may ring at interview stage rather than waiting until you start the job, which is why this is such an important question to ask.
4. What do you like most about your job?
Finding out what your interviewer likes most about their job has a couple of advantages. Firstly, it can help you connect with them on a more personal level – most people like to talk about themselves, after all. In turn, this improves communication and helps you make a good impression.
You may also uncover some insights into the company, depending on the answer you get. If they sound unenthusiastic or just talk about non-specific things that aren’t related to the job (for example, they like playing a game of table football at lunch), try and dig a little deeper. On the other hand, if they’re really positive and enthusiastic about their role and what they do day-to-day, this is a really encouraging sign.
5. In which areas might the team need to be improved?
If you’re a leader or interviewing for a leadership role, this is a good question to ask to find out what you’ll be getting into. If you get the job, having this information will put you on the front foot in terms of your expectations and in preparing you for handling a new team with all its various quirks.
It will also help you determine what you would need to achieve quickly in the new role, what problems may need to be solved or issues ironed out, where there may be gaps in skills or experience and where you may need new team members.
If you’d like specific advice on interview techniques, including online or virtual interview coaching, call us on +44 20 7100 6656 or send an email to our interview coaches who are ready to help you get that role.