Interview Preparation: What Questions To Ask During Your Interview

In the second part of our interview prep series, we delve into the best questions to ask a potential employer at interview. Preparing questions is vital for two reasons:

  1. If your response to the question “Do you have any questions?” is “No”, then that doesn’t create the best impression for you!
  2. On a more serious note, while the employer is interviewing you, this presents a great opportunity for you to interview them, too. After all, if employed you will be spending a lot of time in that environment – you have to try and ensure it’s right for you.

So here are some great questions to get you started, that will offer up some useful insights into your prospective employer, its activities and its culture.

Check out the first in our Interview Prep series here.

Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?

This will allow you to learn as much as possible about the role, going beyond the job description when you initially applied. The interviewer should reveal a bit more of what abilities and experience are required, giving you an idea of whether the position is suited for you or not.

If you’re offered the position, the answer will give you an indication of what the company expects, so there should be no nasty surprises when you start.

Are there any aspects of my skills or previous experience that give you any concerns?

This allows for clarification of any sticking points the employer may have about your background and the opportunity for you to allay any concerns. Asking this question presents you as someone who can rise up to any challenges and reassure colleagues and managers that you are capable of fulfilling the role and (if there are any weak points) set out any plans to improve your skills.

Are there opportunities for training and progression within the role/company?

Asking about professional development shows the interviewer that you’re taking your career seriously and to do that, you want to be employed with a company who prioritises and invests in its employees.

This question could also save you a lot of time and energy – asking this question will help you determine whether a long-term career with the organisation is possible, or if you’ll need to move on after a while, in order to progress up the career ladder.

What do you enjoy about your job?

This is a great way to build up a rapport with your interviewer and to also get some insider knowledge on the inner workings of the organisation. This will also start to build up an insight into the culture of the office environment and if it will be a good fit for you.

How is progress and performance measured?

Similar to the training question above, this should provide clues into how individuals are appraised, how promotions work, and again, how the organisation treats and prioritises its staff. Again, this will present you as someone serious about their career and their professional development.

Can you describe the culture of the organisation?

A really important question that should provide you with the information on how well you would fit in. Once again this could be a time saver – if you’re a chatty, sociable person and the environment is very quiet and studious, for example, it probably won’t be a workplace you’d enjoy.

A good tip would be to build rapport (see earlier questions!) and probing further can give you an idea of the general atmosphere and mood of the workplace, if they have social events (if that’s what you want), how they treat their staff (look beyond the free food and gym memberships – how is the staff’s wellbeing being prioritised?) and the relationship between staff and the management. Look out for responses that seem too rehearsed – that’s not a great sign!

No doubt this is a lot to take in – particularly the last question! So we’ll be creating the next part of this series all about working culture and if an employer is right for you. We’ll be looking at research methods and further questions to ask, to help you land your perfect job!