It’s always important to approach interviews as a two-way street.
Though you may get nervous and feel that it’s only you who has to impress, interviews are just as much about them winning you over. So, don’t just prepare for the questions the interviewer might ask you, make the most of the opportunity to bring up anything you’d like to ask them.
Here are some great questions you can ask in your next interview. Hand-picked by us, these will make you really stand out:
1. “How did this position come about?”
Interviewers like this one, because it starts a conversation about how the team is structured and how the organisation has developed without being intrusive. It will also help you to understand exactly where you’d fit within the organisation and what makes your role essential.
2. “How has the company, and this role, evolved since you started working here?”
This serves a similar purpose to the previous one, with the added bonus that it gives the interviewer an opportunity to talk about themselves and their experiences, which helps build rapport.
3. “Can you tell me a bit about the team I would be working directly with each day?”
The answer to this question will help you understand the size of the department you’ll be working within and who you’ll be reporting to, which is important. It also shows you’ve thought about your place within the company and are keen on working with others. Asking a question like this indicates you work well in a team more effectively than just saying, “I work well as part of a team”.
4. “What would my parameters for success be in this role, how is performance measured?”
This is a great one, if it hasn’t already been covered in the interview discussion, as it shows you are eager to succeed at the company. It’ll distinguish you as someone who is results-driven and won’t just be clocking in and out each day.
5. “What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the person in this role?”
Again, this indicates you’re keen to get stuck in and are thinking carefully about what the position will involve and what the obstacles are to your success. The discussion that follows should give you the opportunity to talk about why you think you’re the right person to address those challenges and what you can bring to the table.
6. “Where do you see the company heading in the next five years, and how could I contribute to making that happen in this role?”
This question tells the interviewer you’re thinking long term and that you’re invested in helping progress the company, not just benefitting yourself. Their answer should also give you more insight into what your goals would be in the position.
7. “I’m looking to grow and develop my skills, what types of training opportunities do you offer?”
Be wary with this one, and adapt your approach to it based on the size of the company – at a smaller company your training will be very hands-on, whereas at a larger company, training may be more formal. It does, however, show you’re committed to improving yourself and using the skills you learn to benefit the company.
8. “Would there be scope for me to progress within the company and be promoted in future?”
Of course, be careful with your phrasing, but this question shows ambition and that you’re thinking long term. It tells the interviewer you are eager to succeed.
9. “What would a successful first six months look like for me in this role, from your perspective?”
We like this one a lot. It shows you are practical, ambitious and ready to evaluate your performance. Many organisations will expect you to work to targets, and this shows an understanding of that and willingness to do so. It also prepares you more for what to expect if you do get the job.
10. “Do you have any concerns right now about my skills or experience that I could address?”
You’ve got to be pretty brave to ask it, but this question often goes down well with hiring managers. It indicates you’re open to constructive criticism and are looking to improve. As a recent graduate, it’s likely there will be some gaps in your skillset – so being confident and proactive in addressing them just might sway the interviewer’s decision.
11. “How would you describe the culture at the office?”
This shows you’re keen to get involved beyond just your job description and is a way for you to find out whether people in the office socialise much, as well as how achievements are celebrated and so on.
12. “I read X article about your company, I found Y particularly interesting – can you tell me a bit more about that?”
Questions along these lines are great as they tell the interviewer you’ve done your research. Read up about the company and the industry as much as you can before your interview so that you can bring up something like this to really wow them. Make sure you’re fully prepared, though, so that you don’t get out of your depth in the discussion that follows.
13. “Earlier you mentioned X and Y, I just wanted to pick up on that and ask what you think about Z?”
This is a brilliant one as it shows you’ve been listening to and thinking about everything the interviewer has said. If you can ask anything like this, definitely do. There’s nothing worse than interviewing someone who isn’t paying attention.
14. “Could you describe your most successful employee to me?”
A good way to ascertain exactly what the company wants from an employee in their own words – you can use this as an opportunity to (carefully and tactfully) respond with how you match that description.
15. “If I were to get the job, what would a typical work day look like for me?”
This shows you’re thinking practically and logistically about the role, which looks good. It will allow you to envisage more clearly what it would be like to work at the company and decide whether it sounds appealing. Another way to phrase this is to ask the interviewer what they’ve been doing, or will be doing, at work that day, which comes with the added bonus of getting them talking about themselves, and shows you’re interested in hearing about their experiences.
16. “What’s your favourite thing about working here?”
Like asking the interviewer what their work day looks like, this opens up the discussion and encourages the interviewer to talk about their own experiences. It might also reveal whether the company is a good one to work for or not.
Remember, some of the topics on this list will come up over the course of the interview naturally, so it’s best to prepare for a handful of them and select the most apt one or two at the end of the interview. Don’t hesitate to ask questions throughout the interview either; there’s no need to wait until the very end. The more an interview feels like an engaging back-and-forth discussion, and the less it feels like an interrogation, the better.