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Asking questions for interview success!

Photograph: Pexels

Text: Luke Hannon

In my nine years in the recruitment industry, I've participated in hundreds of interviews.

Many things have changed in these nine years. Some haven't. Asking the right questions during your interview is the most surefire way to stand out as an interviewee and maximise your chances of landing your dream job.

Here's how…

Why is asking questions so important?

"Do you have any questions?"

Nearly every interview ends with this question. This is your chance to shine. The interviewer is giving you a softball opportunity to impress them with your knowledge, expertise and insight.

So why is preparing questions for your interview so important?

Preparing a list of questions lets you discover all you need to know about the job you're interviewing for. It means you can show the interviewers that you've considered the role deeply and are taking the job seriously. It can allow you to set yourself apart from the other interviewees by providing additional information about the position, information which you can weaponise, showing the interviewers that you've got the skills and experience which would make you perfect for the role.

In short - it's crucial!

"Your job is to make it as EASY as possible for them to imagine you working there as possible."

What types of questions should you ask?

Now you know how vital asking the right questions is, let's cover the types of questions you should ask.

For the best chance of impressing your interviewers, your questions should cover three main areas:

  1. Questions about the role

  2. Questions about the desired skills and behaviours

  3. Questions about the company

So what does this look like?

When asking about the role, it's essential to ask questions not answered in the job description. Ask about the team and the day-to-day responsibilities of the role. Ask anything that will enable you to decide if the role is right for you.

Remember, an interview is a two-way street!

Along with questions about the company, always think of questions to ask about the skills and behaviours required for the job. The reason that jobs exist within a company is that there are missing skills and experience needed to help the team or company grow and succeed.

So, find out what they are and show the interviewers that you have them!

Find out the skills lacking within the team and the broader company. Find out about the gaps that you can fill. Find out the behaviours the interviewers expect from a successful interviewee and show them how you've demonstrated these behaviours in the past. By doing this, you're planting the idea in the interviewers' heads that you, with your skills and experience, are the perfect person to solve their problems. All hail, the saviour is here!

The final topic of questions you want to prepare beforehand is about the company. Ask about the future goals for the company. It's crucial to show that you buy into the company's long-term aspirations. Want to know what the working environment is like at the company? Ask! You want to show the interviewer that you are seriously considering the company as a future place for you.

Your job is to make it as EASY as possible for them to imagine you working there as possible.

When to ask the questions

Timing is everything.

With every great interview, there should be a give and a take. A great interview should be free-flowing, like a conversation, so you should if you get the chance to ask some of your questions during the interview. Remember to be conscious of maintaining the flow of the conversation. Be mindful not to derail the interview by asking unnecessary questions - you'll get your chance to ask your questions at the end. Then, you can wow them with your knowledge and insight.

Make them ask the question: How can we hire you?

There you have it! Remember these simple lessons for your next interview, and you'll surely impress your interviewers!

Stay tuned for next month!

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