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10 questions to ask in a job interview

Preparing for an interview isn’t all about how you’ll impress as an interviewee. Part of your preparation should centre on how you’ll determine whether the company is a good fit for you. The best way to do this is to ask questions.

Your interviewer will usually open up the floor at the end of your session. If prepared, you could turn what you could be an awkward outro into a positive last impression, and get some all-important info in the process.

Add these ten questions to your list, all of them written by recruitment professionals.

1. What’s a typical day like?

Why ask this? Opening a discussion about the practicalities of a role helps you better understand whether you’ll enjoy its responsibilities. This query allows you to move past a generic job description to get to the nitty-gritty of how you’ll spend your time if you’re successful. Plus, it won’t hurt your chances to prove your pragmatism and willingness to get to work.

2. How would you describe the company culture?

Why ask this? Touching on company culture shows you know that cultural fit is important. Aside from attributes, skills and education, employers value people who are a good match for their company’s existing environment. Your compatibility with a company should also matter to you. After all, a dream job is more than a fancy job title. Check whether the firm aligns with your attitude, ethics and lifestyle. If it doesn’t, chances are your time with them will have a sweet but short expiration date.

3. What sort of projects will I be working on?

Why ask this? This question helps those seeking employment straight out of education and individuals looking to get their foot in the door of a new industry. If your knowledge of a sector is limited, you should ask probing questions like this. The answer will shed some light on the brand you’ll be working for, as well as the level of responsibility you’ll receive and where you’ll fit in a project’s overall puzzle.

4. What kind of training will I receive?

Why ask this? Asking about personal development is always a plus. It shows your determination, ambition and zest for growth. Yet, it also keeps your employer accountable. The answer will reveal what you’ll receive from this relationship and how much they’re willing to bring to the table. If you’re met with stuttering or hesitation, this could be a sign that you’re about to tread in deep water where you’ll simply be expected to sink or swim with no outside support.

5. How have previous employees in this role progressed?

Why ask this? Questions with a long-term outlook reassure your interviewer that you don’t see the role as a stop-gap, but as something much more serious. This question will put your interviewer at ease, and its answer will enlighten you. You’ll know exactly what to strive for, without the fear of your career feeling stale or stagnant in the future.

6. What’s the performance review process?

Why ask this? Learning to ask about expectations upfront stops you from being dissatisfied in the future. You’ll likely be unhappy in a place that puts generic figures above unique personal development. This is your chance to find out what quantifies as a success in your employer’s eyes. Do they care more about the quantity or the quality of the work that you produce? Do they give merit to innovation and independent work? Or, do they only see value in rigid team targets?

7. What do you like about working here?

Why ask this? This question often takes interviewers by surprise, ensuring you get a genuine, from-the-heart response. At best, you’ll be met with a passionate, persuasive answer that confirms why you want to work for the company. Yet, if someone struggles to articulate their answer, you might want to think twice about sealing the deal.

8. What are the company’s goals?

Why ask this? Showing an interest in a company’s wider agenda immediately impresses employers. It shows enthusiasm, interest and budding business acumen. At the same time, it will give you a good idea as to whether you and your potential employer are a long-term match. Although you might be tempted by the role, a company could be out of the running if they intend to expand outside of your commuting zone, merge with a firm that fails to align with your ethics or switch their services to something less exciting.

9. Who will I be working closely with?

Why ask this? It’s always a good idea to dig deeper into a team’s dynamic. After all, on average, British people will spend 3,507 days of their life working, so we might as well spend it with the right people. For some, being able to work side by side with a senior staff member might provide a valuable opportunity for development. For others, working alone is preferable.

10. What’s the next step in the interview process?

Why ask this? Instead of asking, “when will I hear if I’ve got the job?”, enquire about the next stage in the interview process. Wording it this way allows you to appear poised and professional rather than impatient. This is a great way to sign off an interview and encourage natural discussion about the next steps. You never know, an employer may even give you a subtle hint that you’ve been successful.

Need more interview guidance? Contact our team of expert health and social care recruiters or register your interest online. We help candidates to find interview opportunities and coach them ahead of the big date.

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