By Sally Freeman
If you want to truly impress in a job interview you should ask your own questions. This will show your enthusiasm for the role and the company, and will also help you decide if this is what you want.
An interview gives both you and the employer the chance to see if you’re the right fit, so it’s important you ask the right questions. Some of the below questions can be asked throughout the interview when the time feels right, but you should also pose a few right at the end. This will leave a positive impression and ensure the employer is well aware of your passion for the role.
Here are 6 questions you should ask at a job interview.
1. Could you tell me more about the daily tasks?
It’s important you find out as much as you can about the specifics of the role – the daily tasks, duties and responsibilities. Even if you’re familiar with the job and have extensive experience, every company will differ in their approach.
Not only does asking this question help you to decide if this job is right for you, it will also help you to decide if you’re capable – or even if it’s less responsibility than you’d hoped for. The tasks may seem relatively easy and maybe this isn’t enough of a challenge as you’d like. Or, maybe the job seems too difficult and not something you’ve done before. However, you shouldn’t give up at this stage and you could ask about any training and support that’s offered from the start.
Wanting to know more about the role will go down very well as it shows you’re already thinking about being in that position. Only someone who is genuinely interested in the role would ask this question, and it will allow you to prepare for a potential job offer. If hired, your first day on the job may be easier because you know what to expect.
2. How could I succeed in this role?
This is a great way to find out some of the trade secrets and increase your chances of succeeding. Without this knowledge you are in the dark as to what’s expected of you. There may be certain targets you need to consistently hit, or reports that need to be submitted on time. Knowing this could help you to decide if you’re up to the challenge, and even provide examples from your career that demonstrate your abilities.
When presented with an answer to this question you could offer examples where you achieved success in this particular area. If you are able to compare what they expect to your proven track record, you are offering further proof of your abilities.
This question also shows your enthusiasm and drive to succeed – or why else would you ask it?
3. Are there opportunities to progress within the company?
Although this is a great question you do need to be careful about your approach. You need to stay clear of suggesting that you should be instantly promoted and that you’d like to take the manager’s job in the future. The way you word this is crucial to the entire interview as you don’t want to come across as presumptuous or over confident.
Let the employer know that you are committed to the role on offer but would like to know if there is an opportunity to take on more responsibility in the future. Don’t use the word ‘promotion’ and instead focus on how you can help the company through your efforts to progress.
If you feel the job on offer has the scope for this and you are happy the employer would want to see your passion to climb the ladder, then don’t hesitate to ask. But if you have any doubts about over stepping the mark, then ask this instead – ‘Are there opportunities to take on more responsibility in a few years time?’
With hopes of progressing up the ranks it would be very disappointing to find out that there isn’t much room for another manager. This could be the deciding factor on whether or not you accept a job offer. This question also shows your commitment to the company and that you are looking to stick around for many years and not jump ship anytime soon.
4. Could you tell me more about the team I would be working with?
Working well within a team could be high up on the list, and even if it’s not this is still a great question to ask. If the employer had any concerns about your ability to integrate into the team, this question would certainly go a long way to quashing any doubts.
Large teams can sometimes feel very daunting and sometimes disconnected from each other. This might not be what you’re looking for, so it’s worth finding out how the structure of the department works. Probe deeper with further questions on how everyone communicates with each other and what would be expected of you to achieve great results. As with all the answers to these questions, take some quick notes so the employer knows you are serious about the interview.
5. Where do you think the company will be in the next 5 years?
Finding an employee who takes an interest in the future of the company is quite rare. Most job seekers are naturally very focused on their career, salary, holiday entitlement, and so on. There isn’t anything wrong with this, and all of these points are very important. But if you want to ensure your career is going to head in the right direction it’s important to find out what the company’s vision is.
If you find that the answer is quite vague and lacking in enthusiasm, then maybe this company isn’t right for you. However, if you receive a great answer and it aligns with your own career plans, then you have more confidence in saying yes if a job offer comes your way.
The interviewer may get taken by surprise with this question, but for good reasons. Wanting to know what the company has planned over the next few years demonstrates you are clearly someone who is committed and wants to help the company succeed. Employees that see the bigger picture are often the ones that make it to management level. At the end of the day your success is only possible if the company succeeds first.
6. What is the working culture of the company?
One of the hardest aspects of joining a new team is not knowing anyone. Will you fit in? Does the company like to organise nights out and social events? Do they participate in team building exercises? Does the manager hand out rewards for exceptional results? Is this a forward thinking company willing to go out of their way to help their employees succeed?
Although you will never really know if you’ll like working for the company until you join, you can still try and build up a picture from the answer given to this question. You might find that the culture is a little stale and not inline with your own outgoing nature. Or you could find that the party culture of the company is too much for your liking and you’d prefer a more serious approach. Listen very carefully to the answer and think long and hard how you might feel taking part in these events. Does this seem like the right company for you?