When the spotlight is on, it can be easy to let the interviewer do all the questioning – but asking questions yourself can create a real point of difference between you and other candidates.
Being politely inquisitive about a role, company culture and expectations can show genuine interest – something interviewers will certainly be looking for from candidates.
Asking questions can show a natural inclination to want to learn more, which could be a skill the employer directly wants to see from their next new employee.
Beyond that, the right questions can be hugely useful in helping you understand whether a job – and a company – is right for you.
Asking the right questions in an interview
Ask questions in moderation and try not to bombard the interviewer. A natural time to ask questions is often at the end of an interview, where many employers will ask if you want to know anything more.
Choose your questions wisely though. Vague or broad questions can lead interviewers in to thinking you’ve not done your research. For example, asking who the company’s competitors are may put your market knowledge into question.
To help you ask the right questions in an interview we’ve put together our list of favourites – including some that have been asked of us before, and left us with a great impression of the candidate!
Examples of questions to ask in an interview
Why are you recruiting for this role?
A role may be new to the business, or due to growth, but the vacancy could equally be because someone has left. Finding out why they left could give you insight into how the company regards its employees. If the role is new to the business it could indicate that the company is going through changes or growth – and there will be some learning curves along the way.
Remember, an interview is a two-way process; you need to walk out feeling you know enough to make a decision, one way or the other, if the job is offered.
Who would I be working closely with in this role?
Ask questions that help to establish who you will be working with – and how your role will be managed too. By asking whom you will be working closely with you should be able to understand how your role fits into a team and whether the management style will suit you and the stage you are at in your career.
I know one of your values is to be [mention a company value]. How does that value come across in the workplace?
Many companies openly promote their values on their website. Take a look and see if you can find any that stand out to you. In your interview, hone in on that value and ask how it feeds through to the workplace.
For example, if a company claims to be innovative – does this mean ideas are encouraged? Do they like to think outside the box? And would these things suit your way of working?
Understanding how a company embraces its values is a great way of learning more about the workplace culture.
Are there, or will there be, opportunities for progression in this role?
Asking this question will show that you are driven and want to advance your career with the company. It will also give you a good idea of how you will be able to grow within the company and expand your skills.
What is the work culture like?
This can be a really simple, straightforward way of understanding whether a workplace is right for you.
For some people, work stays at work and that’s perfect for them and achieving a good balance. Others prefer a more social work environment – time spent with colleagues, lots of team building…
Know what works for you and listen for signs that help establish whether a workplace will be the right fit.
Make sure you read our blog too, How To Know If You’re A Good Cultural Fit For An Organisation
Will there be any training opportunities included in the role?
This could be something that sways your decision between two employers. Training can be expensive and if it’s provided by an employer is can be a big plus. On top of that, it can provide you with that next step within the company – showing a good attitude towards learning and progression.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of the role? And what are the most challenging parts?
This may be a slightly difficult one for the employer to answer but it’s important that you get an honest answer. Every job has tasks that are not as enjoyable as others, and some which are naturally challenging.
If you are someone who thrives on being challenged then this could be a great way of ensuring the role won’t be too easy for you. Equally, it will help you to establish how challenges may be tackled – as a team? With managerial support? Will you have the help you need to overcome difficult parts of a job?
What are the next steps in the recruitment process?
Looking forward and asking what you can expect to happen next shows a proactive attitude, and that you are keen.
It’s perfectly acceptable to ask what will happen next and it will help you to manage your expectations too – the employer may be able to tell you a rough date when they will come back to you by or tell you whether there is another interview or assessment phase to go through.
Feel like you’ve missed something? Ask permission to explain further…
Lastly, don’t feel shy about telling the employer something more about yourself, which you feel may have been overlooked in the rest of the interview.
Interviewers aren’t perfect and they may miss questions or not really get to the bottom of your skill set. If you really feel something is relevant to the role and should be mentioned, take the time to explain it to the interviewer. Simply ask if you could tell them about the relevant skill, project or experience as you feel it could be of real benefit to the role.
Further interview advice
These are just a few sample questions you could ask an interviewer. Make sure you prepare for interviews fully, reviewing your CV, practicing questions and being prepared for the interview format.
Be ready for your interview, read our advice in our Job Seekers Resource Centre