What to ask in a job interview

What to ask in a job interview

It is easy to forget that a job interview is a two-way process. Not only is the company management interviewing you as the candidate, you also have to ask questions to make sure the role and the company is right for you.  After all, we do commit a large part of our lives to our work, so you have every right to make your own checks, so it is important to think carefully what to ask in a job interview.

Timing is important

Timing is important, candidate questions are normally reserved for the end of the formal interview so allow the interview to take its natural course before asking your questions. That being said, some interviews are more informal than others, so judge the situation for yourself. If the interview has an informal feel to it and seems more like a chat than a grilling, then asking questions early on can help the flow of the conversation and make you seem more engaged.

Be engaged, not passive

Even if you wait until the end of the interview to ask questions, try to ask important questions and follow up the answers with a detailed response that sells yourself to the hiring manager. Hiring managers are turned off by candidates that ask too few questions; ask short basic questions; or do not discuss the answer to the questions – you want to avoid sounding passive or uninterested. The hiring manager is looking for people who seem genuinely interested in the role and show levels of excitement to be part of what they are trying to achieve.

Here is a list of questions that may give you some inspiration:


Questions about the Job Role

  • Why has the position become available?

This is an interesting question as it can spark discussions about the growth of the company and its overall ambitions – allowing you to discuss how you can be an asset.

  • What are the most important objective of the position?

Don’t ask them to read out the job responsibilities – you should have read the job descriptions before the interview…this question is to discover or reinforce the KEY objective

  • What problems or barriers to success have been encountered in reaching this objective?

This question shows that you are able to think about problem solving and have determination to succeed by overcoming problems.

  • How is success measured?

An important question to ask in any role – how will they judge success?

  • Will there be opportunities for professional development and support?

This question shows that you care about your future and allows you to demonstrate that you are willing to stay with them for the long term as you grow and develop professionally. It also helps to understand if the role has progression opportunities.  

  • How could I impress you in my first month?

This shows you are planning ahead and really care about giving a good impression and bringing value to the business.

  • Do you have any reservations about my application?

This question can catch interviewers off guard! It forces them to reveal the things they are concerned about and any barriers that may be preventing you from securing the job. This allows you to counter any hesitations and put the interviewer at ease about any reservations they might have. Therefore we feel this is a really important to prepare for when deciding what to ask in a job interview!


Questions about the company

  • Do you have plans for future growth or new products?

Shows you are interested in the company’s future and vision, allowing you to see where you fit into that vision.

  • What do you enjoy the most about working at your company?

This question can soften the mood of an interview and can bring out a more playful vibe as the hiring manager sells the company to you by highlighting the things they enjoy the most.

  • What’s the working environment like?

This question will help to ascertain whether or not you are a good fit for the company – is it fast paced? Is it high pressure? Is it target driven?

When deciding what to ask in a job interview, avoid asking questions about salary, holidays and benefits on the first interview – this is something to be discussed when an offer is on the table – otherwise it can seem that you are more interested in the pay check than being the right fit. We all know money is important, but the job interview is about first impressions and positive perceptions.

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