Interview questions to ask at a job interview should aim to create “a conversation with a purpose”. Many years ago I was told this during a training session & that phrase has remained with me over the last thirteen years as I think it perfectly encapsulates the two-way dynamic of a successful interviewing process.

The majority of the questioning will inevitably flow from the interviewer towards the interviewee but there are often opportunities before, during and at the end of the interview process when the tables can be turned. These chances to question the questioner are great opportunities for the interviewee to not only find out more about a prospective new employer and the job opening but also to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and desire that help them secure them the opportunity.

But, how do you choose which interview questions to ask which will impress a prospective employer?

Here are some top tips to help you:

#1 Ask open questions

Try not to ask questions to which the answers can be Yes or No (these are “closed” questions). Asking “open” questions that begin with “What” or “How” or “Tell me about …” will help develop a conversation

#2 Avoid the obvious

Avoid questions to which the answer is obvious or has already been covered in the interview

#3 Important questions first

Ask your most important questions at the start in case you run out of time

#4 Do your research

Demonstrate you’ve already done some research by asking questions like: “I read in the industry press that x has happened. How do you think this might impact on the company?”

#5 Don’t focus on money

Ask about timescales and next steps but don’t ask if you’ve got the job, what they’re going to pay you or what car you can expect

Some example interview questions to ask:

  • Why did you choose to work here?
  • What will be my biggest challenges in the first six to twelve months?
  • How would you describe the company / team culture?
  • How would my performance be measured?
  • What are the development opportunities for someone in this role?
  • What are the company’s goals over the next five years?
  • How does this role fit into the company structure?
  • Why is the position vacant?
  • What happens next?

I hope all this helps in your job search and interview success.Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if something doesn’t make sense & it’s OK to make notes.

Photo credit: cartoon by Nick. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.