It is easy to become so focused on answering questions during an interview that you forget that you can and should use this opportunity to ask questions too. An interview needs to be an active conversation between you and your prospective employer. Asking the right questions during an interview is important for multiple reasons:

  • You can design the questions to confirm your skills or qualifications and that you are the right candidate for the position;
  • You can use this opportunity to ensure that this company is the right fit for you;
  • You can demonstrate the research you have already carried out on the company and the role, your natural intelligence and ability to think on your feet.

Don’t be shy

Interviewers want to know that you are capable of partaking in an engaging conversation and hear your opinions on the company and role. Preparing for an interview, you should certainly plan a few answers to expected questions, but do not neglect thinking about what you want to gain from this interview also. If there is anything that is unclear to you about the business or vacancy prior to your interview, make a note to enquire about this.

Conduct the interview on the assumption that you will be asked back for the next stage. This will make you appear confident and help the interviewers to envision you in the position. Avoid any element of arrogance but recognise that the opportunity to have you as an employee is likely to be as beneficial for your employer as it is for you.

Pay attention

Do not simply prepare a list of questions and ask them robotically at the end of the interview. It is likely that most of your prepared questions will be answered naturally throughout the course of the interview, so listen, adapt and make a mental note of new questions that you think of while discussing the opportunity. If you ask about something that has already been adequately covered by the interviewer it will show poor attention to detail – not a good look!

Get your thinking cap on!

Before the interview, think about what you want to find out. Is there anything that might put you off taking the role? What do you want from your employer? Is there anything you do not understand about the job description?

Here is a list of some sample questions on areas that might not be covered in a typical interview:

  • Why has the position become available?
  • What can I expect from you in terms of development and support?
  • Where does this role fit into the team structure?
  • What aspirations do you have for me at the company?
  • What challenges am I likely to face in the first three months?
  • What progression opportunities will there be for me at this company, in this role?
  • Do you have any reservations about me at this stage?
  • When can I expect to hear from you and what are the next steps?

Follow up

Once the interview is drawing to a close, make it clear to the interviewer that you are happy to be contacted with any follow up questions they might have. Ask when you can expect to hear from them, what the next steps are and whether they are happy for you to contact them with any follow up questions also. Browse our website for more interview techniques, how to behave in the workplace and loads more!

-Niamh

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