Interview preparation: What questions should you be asking?

Which questions will single you out as the strongest candidate?

In an interview, you will always be given the opportunity to ask questions about the company and the role you have applied for. If you ask no questions, this may indicate that you have come unprepared and can even suggest that you have little interest in the company and the position. Preparing questions prior to your interview is imperative and will demonstrate your commitment to the role.

As the interview comes to a close, make the preemptive strike, by asking ‘May I ask you some questions?’ Employers will always be impressed by a candidate that has researched the company and position. In asking this question, it shows you are inquisitive and have a genuine interest in the company.

What is the company’s development plan? A good candidate understands the company’s purpose, but a great candidate wants to know the longer term development goals of the company. Not only does this indicate that you are planning to make a long term commitment, it also demonstrates that you are capable of working towards a common goal. Communicating a genuine interest in a company’s future is the key to a successful interview.

It is important to ask the panel or interviewer why they chose to work for the company. The point of any interview is to try to understand a snapshot of someone’s life, and see if it matches the company’s criteria. It also gives you an opportunity to understand what motivates your potential employer. Understanding the reason behind a person’s professional choices allows you to create a personal connection. These connections leave a lasting impression.

Make reference to a specific event in the company’s past. Do some digging. It is okay to reference good and bad press, and it will really show off your research skills. It also shows that you took the time to really understand the company’s history and background.

The most productive departments in any company are always successful because of a great personality fit between colleagues. Equally, departments that struggle or have a high turnover normally have a culture that creates an unhappy environment. Be wary of this, as you will need to figure out how to fit in with differing personality types to ensure your happiness within the role. Asking a simple question of ‘What is your company’s personality?’ will help you understand where you would fit in.

Showing passion for getting a head start on the day to day workings of a company is one of the best ways to demonstrate initiative. Asking ‘What could I expect in my first few weeks of employment?’ suggests you understand there may be challenges, but that you are prepared to face them. Where possible, this should be your final question as it suggests you are keen to make a difference to the company. It will leave the interviewer with the impression that you intend to be a very active member of the company’s workforce.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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