Questions to Ask to Guarantee a Successful Interview

So you know how it goes; tummy flips, severe sweating and the bog-standard handshakes. This can only mean one thing, an interview. The essential time to sell yourself into a role that you just know on paper you’re perfect for, so why is it that so many of us leave feeling like we’ve just put a ring on Beyonce’s finger to find out that we’re actually in the same league as the two from Destiny’s Child in the nineties that no one can remember the names of?

An important part of the interview, in fact probably the most important part is at the end when you’re asked “Do you have any questions?” This is NOT the time to smile and say “No, I’m good thanks” this is your time to sell yourself even more, they know you’ve got the qualifications and technically can do the job hence why you’re already at the interview so now it’s your turn to play Quiz Master.

There are a number of questions that you can ask that will go in your favour and will make you stand out above the rest.

Can you describe a typical day in this type of role?

By asking this, it shows that you’re enthusiastic to find out what your daily duties are going to be and not just assuming that it’s going to be same as the role you’re in now. If it’s a totally different industry then it shows your eagerness as to what lies ahead, after all you wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first.

How long have you been at the company and what makes you stay?

Nobody wants to join a company with a high turnover of staff, in all fairness if you’ve done your research before attending the interview (which you should have done) you will have a thorough idea of how many employees the company have and how successful it’s been by how long it’s been going. Asking what makes you stay will give you an insight as to what the relationships are like between the employers and the benefits that they receive; financial and as a company.

How would you describe the work environment and corporate culture?

I’ve found that one of the main reasons people look to move jobs is down to the how the company treats their employees. If people have a good relationship with their Manager then it normally takes a lot of persistence to encourage them to move into a company with new people.

Depending on the sort of day to day routine you’re used to, you may find that larger companies have a format that doesn’t fit what you’re used to, whether it’s something as small as how long your lunch break is or if there are particular uniform regulations.

What are some of the goals for the company in the short and longer term?

It’s important to find out what your potential employer has in store for the next 5 years or so. Not only will this be beneficial for you, it also puts the interviewer under pressure to sell the company to you.  It’s also a great chance to find out what is happening regarding structure changes, is there an opportunity for you to progress up the ladder sooner than you thought? Find out how many employees they’re looking to take on in the long run, this will give you an indication of the growth within the company and potential budget forecasts.

How would my performance be measured?

Although it would be everyone’s ideal job to not be pulled up on a bad week of figures, unfortunately when you’re working for a reputable establishment, that’s never going to happen. Find out how often employees have reviews, is it for half an hour on a Friday, monthly or quarterly? How are you going to be going targeted and what are the implications of not meeting these?

What types of career opportunities may open up down the road for a person starting out in this type of position, assuming they perform well?

Before signing on the dotted line, you should first find out how far up the ladder you can go and what the time scale is looking like. If you’re in a position to move into management, ask when the position is likely to become available. Although you don’t want to come across too head strong, you should make it clear that you’re not prepared to just settle for the role you’re currently interviewing for.

For a lot of people, when asked if they have any questions at the end of an interview, they can reel a list off as long as their arm. In most cases, these questions have probably been answered already throughout the interview and they just want confirmation.

Regardless of the role or establishment, the questions above show initiative and can help you get a better understanding of the company you are potentially going to work for.

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Luke Hartle

12th September

Career Advice