What questions should you ask in a job interview?

It’s surprising how many candidates continue to make the mistake of not asking questions during job interviews

Mon, December 16th, 22:11


This usually gives the hiring manager the impression that the candidate is not that interested in the role or the organisation and is simply looking to get any job, rather than focused on landing a particular one.  So many candidates still make the fatal mistake of not bothering to ask the interviewer any questions about the organisation. The question “Do you have any questions for me?” is often misinterpreted as simply a cue to wrap up the interview. However, for the interviewer, your response could potentially reveal a great deal about you and also determine your suitability for the role.

This portion of the interview is a chance to demonstrate your critical thinking by asking well thought out and insightful questions. A candidate who fails to take advantage of this opportunity will be perceived as being inexperienced, ambivalent or not particularly astute. Equally, if you ask the wrong kinds of questions such as those about salary expectations and benefits packages, you will also do yourself no favours. In short, both scenarios will convince the interviewer that you are a bad fit for the role. A candidate should try to view this portion of the interview as an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the company and highlight their suitability.

Below is a list of some of the best questions that a candidate should ask during an interview.

1.       How would you describe the culture of the company?

Before you decide whether you’d like to work for the company, try to gain an insight into the kind of environment. It will provide you with an understanding of the expectations of the employer. You will also gain an appreciation of the values and ethos of the business.

2.      What are the two most important things you would expect this hire to achieve in the first quarter in your company?

By asking this, you show you mean business. You want to know precisely what your goals will be. You are already thinking ahead, planning and working as the Interviewer will want you to.

3.       Can you describe your ideal candidate for this role?

By asking this question you are demonstrating your passion for the role. It also allows them to share with you what they believe to be the ideal qualities of a successful candidate. In addition, you can take this opportunity to address any of their concerns about your experience or qualifications.

4.       How does the position fit into the larger long-term goals of the business?

Asking this question will allow you to showcase your target-focused mentality. It will also suggest to the interviewer that you wish to make a long-term commitment to the company.

5.       Do you enjoy working here?

Although it is almost a guarantee that the interviewer will say ‘yes’, any hesitation in their response or shift in body language might be representative of a warning sign about the company. Conversely, a warm smile and a detailed explanation as to why they enjoy working there should help to address your concerns.

Finally, I have to say that during my seventeen and a half years recruiting, it is the question that someone asks me at the end or during the interview that has turned my head and made me want to hire the person. I have swung from a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ in a number of interviews, simply because I knew the candidate was connected to me, my business and aligned to my goals – I knew this by the smart questions they asked.

Siobhan Kinsella

The Irish Times