Tags: Career Guidance, career-guidance, blog

Interview questions you need to ask

There’s more to a good interview than just giving a convincing account of yourself. Of course, you need to emphasise your credentials and prove as best you can that your particular skill set and experience make you well-suited for the job in question. But you also need to prove to your prospective employer that you’re genuinely interested in and enthusiastic about the role. You need to show that you’re proactive and engaged - which is why it’s so important to ask the right interview questions.

The thing to remember about job interviews is that they’re not just an opportunity for your potential employer to run the rule over you - they also provide you with a chance to grill them (politely!) about the job in question and what it could offer you in terms of job satisfaction, workplace culture and future career prospects. At Search, we’ve got years of experience in helping people find their perfect job, so we’ve given it some thoughts and put together a handy list of the best interview questions to ask.

Your job interview gives you a platform with which to sell yourself as well as discussing your years of work experience. Once the interviewer has finished asking questions of you, they should give you a chance to pose some of your own. This is a good opportunity both to gain more information and demonstrate how inquisitive you are. Ahead of your next big interview, then, make sure you take a look over this list of questions to ask your interviewer.

1. What day-to-day responsibilities does the role involve?

Before your interview, make sure you go over the job description with a fine tooth comb. Look for clues and insights about what you can expect should you succeed in getting the job. However, it’s important at the same time to be aware of the limitations of job descriptions. They can give you a decent overview of what the role in question involves, but they can’t give you a full picture of what it’s likely to involve from day to day. Jobs, especially in the modern working environment, are a lot more fluid and flexible.

This is why it’s worth asking your interviewer about what responsibilities the job will entail on a regular working day. This should help you get a better sense of what the role will actually be like if you get it, as well as looking good to the interviewer.

2. What future opportunities will there be for career progression?

Clearly, there’s a great deal of variation in career prospects between different types of job. Some will offer a fairly clear career ladder for you to ascend (provided you perform well enough, of course), whereas with others it’s not so obvious. In an interview, it’s always good to demonstrate that you’re ambitious, energetic and looking to progress. So when you get the chance to ask questions of your interviewer, you should definitely ask them for an outline of how your future career path might look if you were to get the job.

Needless to say, there’s rarely any strict one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to career progression. But you could get some useful ideas by asking interview questions about how your colleagues’ career paths have looked, and what routes they’ve taken. If your interviewers struggle to give you a convincing answer, however, that might be a sign that the job risks becoming something of a cul-de-sac.

3. Where do you see the company going over the next few years?

In job interviews, employers will look for an indication that you’re planning to stick around with them for the long haul (in permanent roles at least; it may be different for fixed-term contract roles). To emphasise your willingness to commit, then, you should take the opportunity to ask them about their medium to long-term plans for the company. Ask them where they see themselves going and if they plan to expand at all. This is likely to reassure your interviewer as well as helping you learn more.

A lot of the time, employers with big plans for investment won’t wait for you to ask before telling you about it, so you may already have covered this in the main part of your interview. If not, though, make sure you raise it yourself.

4. How would you describe the workplace culture?

Culture is a big consideration for anyone looking for a new job. Unhealthy or frosty workplace culture is often a major factor driving people to seek new opportunities in the first place; it’s, therefore, important to seek reassurance that your next workplace offers a good atmosphere, a vibrant social life, and plenty of mutual trust and respect between colleagues. You should certainly ask about this at any interview if it doesn’t come up during the main part of the discussion.

This is one of the more important and potentially revealing interview questions. It will give your interviewer a chance to elaborate on the culture of the company you could soon be working for, helping you get a better idea of how far they prioritise their internal culture and what the experience would be like for you.

5. What personal skills are most important in doing this job?

Interviews usually require you to run through at least some of the contents of your CV, discussing your work history and relating your previous experience to the needs of the new jobs. But personal (or soft) skills - such as good communication, flexibility and a willingness to shoulder large workloads - are also hugely important. Be sure to ask your interviewer which soft skills would be needed in order to do the job well.

Are you looking to step up a rung on the career ladder? Get more useful tips and ideas by reading our earlier guide on how to prepare for job interviews. You might also find our guide to preparing for a video interview helpful.

As always, the expert team here at Search are on hand to help you find the perfect job opportunity. Don’t hesitate to contact us for expert advice, and explore the range of jobs advertised on our site today.