5 Smart Questions to Ask at an Interview

by Yvette McKenzie
Posted: February 09, 2015

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What are some of the questions to ask at an interview to take you a step further to securing that job? In a job interview, we all plan our responses to common interview questions. But have you also thought about the end of the interview? Many of us may sigh in relief when we've answered all of the interviewers questions, but are you prepared when they ask you, “do you have any questions?” 

Simply responding with a “no” will not leave a lasting impression on your interviewer. Any questions you had about your role may already have been answered. However, make sure you finish on a high and get the most out of this time by asking a series of thoughtful questions.

You’ll often only have a few minutes to ask all of your questions, so make sure you prepare in advance so you know straight away what you want to ask. If you’re worried about forgetting what you wanted to ask, don’t be afraid to write your questions down.

This shows that you’re prepared and have thought it through. It’s important not to just ask a question that you could find the answer to online, simply so you have something to ask. Instead, ask a mixture of open questions which help you to find out more, whilst displaying your interest in the company and the role.

Top questions to ask at an interview - you're hired

So, what specific job interview questions should you ask? We could list hundreds, but here is our list of top 5 questions to ask at a job interview that experts recommend, that will impress your potential employee.

1. What do you enjoy about working here?

This question puts the spotlight on your interviewer. It is a chance to watch their body language and see how they react. You should be able to get a sense of whether they genuinely enjoy working for the company.

From a recent report, it was found that 63% of employees are not engaged, so regardless of their response, it will allow them to reflect on their role and it will turn the interview process into more of a conversation.
 

2. Are there any reasons that you think I will not be the right fit for this role?

This question might surprise your interviewer, however, it is an excellent way to get instant feedback. It shows that you are open to receiving constructive criticism and it gives you the chance to find out more about how you come across in interviews which can help in the future.

Not only that, but this is the perfect opportunity to tackle any doubts. Addressing any weaknesses the interviewer may think you have, face-to-face, will help you to finish on a high where you can really sell yourself again and re-emphasise why you think you are the right person for the job.
 

3. How long did the previous person in this role hold their position for and why has this opportunity become available?

Lady who has plenty of questions to ask at a job interview

This is a very useful question to ask. Although your interviewer may not give you in-depth details, finding out why your predecessor left and how long they had been at the company for will give you more of an insight into the company and its culture.

For example, if the person had not been there for very long, this may indicate problems within the business, such as a difficult manager, unrealistic expectations or a company that does not value their staff. Find out as much as you can to help you decide whether it is a company that suits you.
 

4. What are the organisation’s plans for the next 5 years and how does this role/department fit in?

Show that you are interested in the long-term success of the business, by asking about the company’s plans and goals for the future. This will show you care about the business as a whole and it can also display that you have done your research. 

Plus, by asking how the role/department fits into the business, you can see if there are any problems in the business and organisational structure before you consider accepting the job.

5. How will the performance of the person in this position be measured and by whom?

When you apply for a job, you most likely have a long-term goal of where you see yourself in 5 – 10 years time. By asking how your performance will be reviewed, this shows the interviewer that you are considering your job in the long-term but also that you understand the importance of delivering results.

What else should you consider?

Top questions to ask at an interview that will leave an impression, shake hands too

Don’t forget that there are also some questions that shouldn’t be asked. Avoid asking questions such as ‘What does your company do?’ This will not make a good impression as it shows that you haven’t done your research before your interview.

You should also avoid asking about salary and holiday. Asking about your salary before an offer has been given can often look presumptuous. You should also think more about the role and career advancement opportunities first and then discuss salary once an offer has been provided. If you’d like to know more about questions to avoid, we suggest taking a look at this interesting article from JobSearch.About.com.

Once you have familiarised yourself with the do’s and don’ts, make sure you plan. You may not have much time to ask your questions, so prioritise them in order of importance so you ask the key questions first. 

It’s also important to remember that although an interviewer is trying to find out if you’re a good fit for the company, if you’re confident about your skills and experience, these questions are the perfect opportunity for you to find out if the company is a good fit for you. 

If you don’t get the job this time around, never forget that every job interview makes you more confident and experienced so you will be even more prepared next time. Just keep on going and always ask for feedback which can really help you move forward. Remember that the top questions to ask at an interview are something to plan ahead for - you are interviewing the employer just as much as the employer is interviewing you.

Feel empowered to move forward in your career and step up in your industry? The answer may be as simple as upskilling - this is what you need to know about it.

 

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Yvette McKenzie

Yvette

Is the content strategist at Open Colleges. She has over a decade of professional experience at some of Australia’s largest media corporations, including Southern Cross Austereo and the Macquarie Media Network. With a degree in Communications (majoring in Journalism), she covers stories on education, new knowledge technologies and independent learning.

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