8 good questions to ask in a job interview

By Robert Half 13 July 2018

Congratulations on securing your job interview!

While you’re most likely in the midst of preparing for the barrage of technical and behavioural questions that will be thrown your way, it’s important that you also the take time to prepare some interview questions to ask of your own.

Remember, a job interview is also a chance to get to know your potential future employer.

Taking the time to put together a list of good questions to ask in a job interview will ensure you’re well prepared when the opportunity presents itself on the day.

Why should you prepare questions to ask the hiring manager?

Simply saying, “No” when asked if you have any questions for the hiring manager can suggest that you’re not prepared, haven’t researched the company, or are not interested enough in the role.

However, turning up to the interview and just improvising isn’t enough either. A hiring manager may have interviewed many candidates by the time they meet with you, and undoubtedly listened to many cliché questions. So, instead of asking them the same repetitive queries, this is an opportunity to take the time to prepare a list of bespoke, well thought out questions that are tailored to the specific role.

Another reason to create a list of good questions to ask in a job interview is so you can find out everything you need to know about the business. The interviewer has had their opportunity to find out whether you’re right for the company, so now it’s your chance to ensure the company is a good fit for you.

What are some good questions to ask in a job interview?

At your interview, you could ask “Can you walk me through a typical day in the life of this role?” or “What will be my biggest challenge in this role?” but you can be sure that other candidates will already have asked those questions.

Here are some examples of good questions to ask in a job interview that will help you stand out from the crowd:

1. You have recently developed a new product/service. How do you feel this will benefit the organisation in the long-term?
By asking this question, you show you have done your research. You also demonstrate that you understand what is happening within the company/industry and show an interest in the role and the company’s future success.

2. How does the company measure success as an organisation and for individuals?
Everyone wants to work for a company that values feedback as a means of helping an employee progress, so it is important to understand that if the company has any form of performance management system in place. This question also shows the hiring manager that you value feedback as part of development too.

3. How did this position arise?
What you really want to know is whether you’re replacing someone. However, this question is a non-invasive way of understanding if this role is because of employee turnover, or because of company growth.

4. Thinking about employees who have done this work previously, what differentiated those who were “good”, from those who were “great”?
No one wants to hire someone who will just do an average job. They want to hire someone who will excel and help to drive the team/company forward. This question demonstrates that you are interested in being great at the role and it will also help you to understand what skills the company believes are the most important.

5. Where do you see the company in five/ten years?
This question will allow you to determine how stable your potential role is as well as ensuring that it fits with your long-term career goals.

6. How would you describe the working environment here?
This question will allow you to gain more information about the company culture and the atmosphere in the office. This will help you attain a much clearer feel for whether you will fit in.

7. Will I be working with a small or large team, and can you tell me a little more about the people I will be working with?
The hiring manager isn’t going to go into explicit detail about everyone, but they may share basic information about colleagues, managers and explain the size of the team and company structure. By asking this question, it shows you are interested in all aspects of the role and want to fit in with the team.

8. Can you tell me what you love the most about working here?
A hiring manager may answer with an obvious corporate-style answer, but their body language should tell you everything you need to know. Actions often speak louder than words.

Want to know if a job interview went well? Click here for seven signs to look out for.

How many questions should you ask?

It’s important to remember that the hiring manager will have allocated a set amount of time for this interview, and the last thing you want to do is make them stop listening to you because they are watching the clock. Exercise your judgment and ask as many questions as you feel is appropriate. Prepare more questions than you plan to ask, because chances are, some of your questions will be answered during the interview.

If all your questions have been answered, don’t simply say you have nothing to ask. Take a moment to read through your pre-prepared list of questions to assess where you could as the hiring manager to expand their answer. If you really can’t think of anything relevant, at least you have demonstrated that you did have some questions prepared.

Asking cliché questions at the end of your job interview isn’t going to help leave a positive impression. Coming up with a list of good questions to ask in a job interview that you’ve tailored to the role, is far more beneficial in helping you to secure your dream job.

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