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10 killer questions to ask your interviewer

By on 22.06.17 in Your Job Search

Interviews are just as much about asking the right questions as they are about answering them. Not only do they have the obvious benefits of making you look well-prepared and keen but they can also help you take control of the process, thus overcoming nerves.

There's few bigger turnoffs for an interviewer than a candidate who answers "no" when asked whether they have any questions. Having to ask the question is demoralising enough, as candidates should be injecting them naturally throughout the process anyway, but coming up empty when prompted is also an instant 'fail' for many employers.

The only thing worse than asking no questions at all is asking the wrong ones. Asking about holiday days and pay before barely finishing your introductions is an immediate red flag for hirers, and says all the wrong things about you as a candidate.

Avoid these pitfalls and insert the below questions throughout your interview to make it feel more like a conversation and less like a one-way examination - hopefully securing yourself a new career!

1. How has this role evolved over the last few years?

This question demonstrates your understanding that the workplace is evolving at quite a furious pace, and, as such, so are individual skillsets. This is a great opportunity for you to exhibit your knowledge of various industry trends. It won't apply toeveryrole - as some have stood the test of time and have barely changed - but the answer will reveal how the position has expanded to incorporate technological developments over time.

2. What opportunities for learning and development are available?

This is a really important one for you, as the candidate, to assess how much the job is going to further your career. A company which puts no resource aside for the professional development of their employees might be indicative of a company which puts short-term revenue above all else, and is therefore best avoided. This question is also a superb means of showing your interest in obtaining new skills to the benefit of both yourself and the organisation.

3. What was the predecessor like?

Asking about the previous person to inhabit your role is a good way of deducing exactly what skills are needed for the position. The interviewer's appraisal of your predecessor is also a useful way of assessing what constitutes success in the role.

4. What does success look like for both this role and the team?

If, however, the interviewer's answer to the previous question isn't full enough and doesn't give you a clear indication of what you need to achieve then there is no harm in asking outright.

5. What is the wider team like?

A convivial relationship with your colleagues is one of the most vital ingredients to success. It's often your success as a team first, and as an individual second, that precedes promotion. Any insight the interviewer can give you into the personality and work ethic of those that you'll be working with should factor greatly into your decision to take the job or not. However, if they're not overly forthcoming then you can always use professional social media networks such as LinkedIn to research your potential peers!

6. How does the team fit in with the wider company?

This is a nice follow up question to the above which demonstrates your interest and suitability in working in a team environment.

7. What are the main challenges the business faces?

Similar to question one, this is another prime opportunity for you to show off your knowledge of the industry and maybe even your problem-solving skills. Don't be too overt with your recommendations on how to resolve all of the business' critical issues, however, especially if the role you're applying for is not a particularly senior one.

8. What do you like best about working here?

This is quite an obvious question but one that catches the interviewer off-guard surprisingly often. You can then align the interviewer's favourite things about working at the company with your own, to assess whether the organisation is the right fit and if you'd fit in well with the wider team.

9. Could you tell me a bit about your own career and background?

Getting to know the interviewer a bit better is crucial to establishing good rapport, which always stands you in good stead when being assessed. Asking this question early in the process could also assist you tweak your remaining answers to fit with the interviewer's own history - a cheap but effective trick!

10. What's next?

The most important question of all, but one that goes down like a lead balloon if the interview has been a complete disaster. Nevertheless, you need the answer to this question so you know what you need to prepare for next and what a suitable length of time to follow up on your interview is.

'Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers'

Ask a mix of the above questions and, by the end of the half hour, you will demonstrate your eligibility and interest in the role, as well as determining whether it's the right opportunity for you.

I often think the key to a successful interviewer is being able to establish some common ground between the pair of you: posing the right questions at the right time will certainly improve your chances of doing so!