Candidates: 7 Great Questions to Ask at Interview

Probably the most bizarre job interview she has ever had.

You want the role, the interview is going well. You've dealt with the inevitable questions about your faults, where you see yourself in five years' time and, if you had to describe yourself as a fruit, which one would you choose, and why?

There's a pregnant pause and the interview catches your eye and asks "Do you have any questions?". Here's seven cracking interview questions to seal the deal...

Question One

Q: What are the main challenges facing your organisation? How is your team tackling them? 

You'll have received the rosy view of the company, but this type of open-ended question reveals more about how the company actually works, how teams interact with one another and gives the interviewer a chance to share their opinion. Listen carefully and follow-up with relevant questions.

Question Two

Q. What qualities are you looking for in an employee? Which are most important for succeeding here and building a career? 

This question helps put you in the interviewers shoes giving you a good idea of what type of person is a good fit for the organisation. Does that person look like you? Do you fit? It also show the interviewer that you're serious about a career at the company, not just a stepping stone. Recruitment is expensive and time-consuming, so they'll be looking for staff to stay for a decent length of time.

Question Three

Q. I noticed the presentation that you gave/article/blog you wrote, how did you build your public profile and how's it been useful?

This shows that you've taken an active interest in the interviewer as well as the role, by bringing up the fact that the interviewer is a recognised expert in their field.

Question Four

Q. What are your plans for marketing using Facebook?

Pick a topic that's a challenge or an opportunity for the company you're interviewing with. It shows you've done your homework on the company and allows the interviewer to reveal more detail whilst establishing that you have knowledge of the industry sector.

Question Five

Q. Who will I report to/be reporting to me? How does this fit into the company structure? Will my team fit into a particular department or spread across different ones? What's the reporting line to senior management?

It's important to understand the reporting lines within the company and where the position will sit in the company hierarchy. If there's more than one boss, it's a good idea to know up-front and helps manage communications between teams. If you're managing people, it's a good idea to try and meet them. Asking about the structure helps demonstrate your thinking about how this role fits into the company's structure and management.

Question Six

Q. I read your MD's article on Econsultancy/Mashable. How did her insight's about the change in the mobile advertising landscape impact the company's approach to this area? Did it help win new business as a result?

This demonstrates that you're interested in the company and have done your research on what's driving the company and where it sits in the marketplace.

Question Seven

Q. How do you handle new business? Who gets involved in pitching/developing product propositions? Is there a team in place, and do they pull in staff from different areas of the business, depending on the business that your firm is going after?

Asking how the company wins business and finds new clients shows that you want to be a part of the company as a whole and not silo'ed into a particular area. It also reveals how the organisation presents itself to the outside world and how it relates to its customers.

Supplementary - ask for the sale

Q: I would love to work for you. What are my next steps?

Any good sales training, at some point, will tell you to "ask for the sale". In the nicest possible way, an interview is selling your skills to the company hiring. It might not feel like the British thing to do, but asking for the next steps helps you understand their procedure and hopefully their timetable. It also prompts the interview to ask any further questions if they have any unresolved questions.

An additional benefit is knowing when to follow-up if there's radio silence after the interview. 

So, what are your top tips? Leave a comment below, we'd love to hear them.

Photo (cc) Ted Murphy. Inspired by: 8 Questions You Should Ask Your Interviewer To Prove How Smart You Are.



I definately like asking the

I definately like asking the interviewer(s) questions at the end. An opportunity to find out from them more anout the company and the direction the company is headed. It's especially important when they don't give much information away on their news or blog page. I definately like the questions you suggested: 'What are the main challenges facing your organisation? How is your team tackling them?' It's also very interesting to see how they word their answers. Are they 'full of themselves' or honest and open?

Candidates: 7 Great Questions to Ask at Interview

Agree these are all great questions.  They show the interviewee in a good light, get detailed information she/he needs to asess the desirability of the opportunity AND, importantly, create opportunities to "match back". So for example when the interviewer tells you what qualities they are looking for, match back  with examples of you "in action" in previous roles to illustrate that you have those qualities. Tell stories with a beginning, a middle and a happy ending to bring it to life and make it memorable.  

One last question "Is there anything about my skills or experience or anything we have discussed today which you are not sure about or need information on ?" is a good way to get the interviewer to confess to any minor doubts they have about your suitability for the role - much easier to overcome minor doubts while you are still in the room .......

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