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Asking questions at Interviews – Do's and Don'ts

When it comes to interviews, being prepared is key. It takes you from just another candidate to the person they want to hire. A big part of your preparation should be researching the company and having some questions ready for the end.

Hopefully, by the end of the interview, you will be feeling good having confidently answered all their questions and now it is time for yours. Having questions prepared shows that you are enthusiastic, engaged and interested in the company which are all traits looked for by prospective employers.

You may find some of your questions get answered naturally in conversation throughout the interview, it is therefore a good rule of thumb to have around 5 questions prepared so you have some left for the end.

As a good rule of thumb prepare questions that cannot be answered in any other way e.g., questions regarding the role will most likely be answered during the interview such as holiday employee benefits, hours, and holiday allowance. Questions regarding the company can most likely be found on their website. Preparing questions that cannot be covered in other ways proves you have done your research and paid attention to the interviewer.

For a bit of inspiration here are some top questions to ask

What do you enjoy about your job?

It’s interesting to find out why the interviewers like working for the company as it will give you a good idea of the company culture and whether you would fit in there.

What does a typical day look like for this role?

This is an excellent question to ask as it will give you a real insight into the role and what is expected of you. Not only does this show you have a real interest in the position it gives you the opportunity to gauge whether the job is what you want. So often we take jobs on our own interpretation of a job advert or description, but this can differ greatly from the day-to-day. The bottom line is the job should suit you as much as you should suit the role.

Are there any training or progression opportunities?

This question suggests you are in this for the long haul, which is very appealing to employers. Recruitment is both expensive and time-consuming so knowing a candidate is planning on sticking around for a good while makes it a more worthwhile investment. It also gives you that much-needed insight into the role and how it will benefit your career in the long term. Will you gain some much-needed training or move up the ladder quickly? What do you want to achieve?

What would you like me to achieve in the first 90 days?

Starting a new job is a slow process, before you can begin to get stuck into the role itself you will have onboarding, training, and paperwork to get through. But it’s helpful to know what will be expected of you after this is completed. Asking this question shows you are thinking about the role in the long term and are willing to set and maintain goals set for you. It also demonstrates your productivity. On the flip side, it also gives you a chance to assess whether the expectations are fair and feasible.

Asking questions is an excellent way to engage with the interview panel on a more personal level however there are some questions you should avoid asking. Have a look below for some examples.

Avoid Asking These Questions in Your Interview

Having questions prepared for your interview is always a good idea. It shows that you are invested in the role and really want to get it.

What does the company do?

You should already know what the company does from your interview prep and research. Asking this question will make you look uninterested and underprepared.

If I get the job, can I take off time for my pre-booked holidays?

Wait until you have been given a job offer before discussing any prior bookings or commitments.

Can I change the working days/hours?

Again, best not to mention it now as you will run the risk of coming across as demanding before being offered the job. Of course, you can discuss this once you have started the job if you need to.

Did I get the job?

I know you are keen, but it’s best not to ask them right there and then. They will have things to discuss and talk about and you are not the only candidate they have seen. They will let you know in good time. You can ask when you are likely to hear from them if they haven’t told you already.

As you can see to be successful in your interview, you need to be prepared and demonstrate that through your engagement with the interview panel. Asking smart and carefully thought out questions is a sure way to impress and it is beneficial to you too as you can then get all the information you need before making a decision on the role.

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