The 5 Best Questions To Ask At Interviews
You’ll spend a lot of time preparing to answer questions during an interview process.
(And if you’d like more insight on frequent interview questions you’ll be facing, take a look at our quickfire guide here!)
But it’s important to remember that an interview is a two-way street.
Not only will asking your own questions help you to understand more about a specific company or role, but it will also show hiring staff that you’re genuinely engaged and interested in the position.
However, it can be tricky to know the best questions to ask your interviewers, which is why we’ve pulled together this guide. Let’s run through 5 of the best questions that you can ask during interviews to help you find an employer that ticks all of the right boxes.
1. “How would you describe the company culture here?”
While an interview provides hiring managers with a chance to assess candidates, it’s also a great opportunity for you to evaluate a potential workplace.
Use this question to discover more about the company you’re applying to and decide if you’ll be a good match.
Company culture is hugely important for job satisfaction, so think carefully about the type of business you’d like to join. Are you keen to join regular social events? Or are you more interested in a company that encourages employees to avoid working late?
If the company values the same principles and behaviours that you do, there’s a much better chance that you’ll be working with like-minded people.
Everyone will have different priorities when it comes to company culture and business values, so ask questions that will help you to make an informed decision.
2. “What are some of the immediate priorities I should be focusing on?”
Not only will this question highlight your work ethic, but it will also help you to understand what the first days, weeks and months of a new role might look like.
For example, you might learn more details about clients, products, and projects that you’ll be working on.
Your interviewers may also give you a heads-up about immediate challenges that you could be facing (e.g. organising messy finances, picking up existing deadlines) which can be incredibly valuable as a new starter.
3. “What is currently missing from your team/department?”
This question will allow you to understand more about what employers are expecting of a new hire in terms of skills, qualifications, experience, and attitude.
If you’re applying for an accountant position, for example, then you may want to know which specific skill gaps in a team or department you’ll need to fill. If this aligns with your professional interests, that’s great - and if not, you may want to look elsewhere.
The answer will also give you some insight into the attitudes and behaviours you’re expected to bring to the table. For instance, an employer may be placing a particular emphasis on leadership qualities or resourcefulness, and you’ll need to figure out if these expectations align with your personal attributes.
This question can be a huge help for interview preparation, particularly if you’re able to ask it ahead of a meeting, since you’ll be able to tailor your answers around the expectations of the hiring manager.
4. “What does this position look like in terms of development and advancement?”
It’s very important that an employer gives you ample opportunities to develop your skill set and advance your career. When you ask this question, you should walk away with a much clearer understanding of your progression path in a new business.
If hiring staff can give you a well-structured idea of learning opportunities, career milestones, and performance review procedures, then you can proceed with confidence.
On the other hand, if there doesn’t seem to be a system in place for nurturing talent and encouraging professional development, this can be a red flag.
5. “How do you see the company evolving or changing in the next 5 years?”
If you’re planning to commit to a new company in the long term, it’s a good idea to ask about the future of the business so that you can understand how you fit into these broader plans.
For example, if you’re applying for a start-up role because you like the idea of joining a smaller business, it’s important to understand any expansion plans. You might also be keen to join a business because of its current client portfolio, but if there are plans to attract a different type of customer in the future, this is important to bear in mind.
By asking the right questions, you can get a better idea of how your career goals align with the wider ambitions of the business.
An interview provides you with a golden opportunity to learn more about a potential employer and showcase your enthusiasm for a role, so don’t be afraid to ask questions!
If you’re looking for guidance on interview techniques or an up-to-date view of the latest job market opportunities, feel free to get in touch. At Barclay Meade, we help candidates to discover and secure their ideal roles in the engineering and technology sectors.