Interview questions. The better they are, the more you know and the more you impress.
But we’ve all been there, lost for words when asked if we have any questions about the job or the company. Not a great look, especially if you’re committing 40-hours a week of your time—and all you have to go off is a job description.
So you need to prepare. But what questions to ask in a job interview?
Well, to make sure you’re asking questions that strike gold, we’ve put together some absolute beauties that’ll make a good impression and ensure you come away with lots of useful information.
Questions About the Role
- Can you describe a typical day or week in the job?
Start with the basics. Ask what a typical working day or week looks like to give you an idea of what you’ll be doing. Or if it’s a multi-skilled role, how they’ll expect you to split your time.
Say, for example, the job description mentioned a mix of analysis and admin, you’ll want to know whether it will be a 50/50 split across the two, or whether you’ll be focussing on one more than the other.
And don’t settle for the answer, ‘oh, every day is different. If they say this, ask what the previous month looked like for the person in your position. Doing so will stop you from walking into chaos — or a job where expectations aren’t defined.
2. What challenges do you expect the person in this position to face?
Unrealistic budgets, interdepartmental politics, a pain in the backside coworker, these are all things you can get at by asking what challenges you’ll face in the role.
While we don’t advise only asking questions that lead to a sales pitch about yourself, if asking about challenges leads to an open conversation about how you’ve dealt with similar things in the past, go for it. It can benefit you and the employer and help reassure them that you’ll tackle these challenges without a blip.
Questions About the Company
3. How would you describe the culture here?
The last thing you want is to step foot into a toxic work culture that has more red flags than a Matador. Asking about the work culture and overall vibe is a great way to find out whether you’ll fit in — and whether the job description lives up to your expectations.
After asking, you might find that the company is too corporate. Or, maybe you’ll discover there’s a lack of drive, ambition, and that ‘creative studio’ you were excited to work in is really just an office.
Asking about the culture will give you an insight into the business’ priorities, work-life balance, employee benefits etc. And it leads nicely onto number five.
4. What do you like about working here?
This is one of our favourites. You’ll want to pay attention to how the interviewer answers this question, as it’ll give you an indication of what it’s like to work for said company.
Someone who genuinely likes their job and the company they work for should be able to reel off a handful of things they enjoy, even when put on the spot. So, if there’s a long pause and they can’t find an answer, or they joke and say, ‘the paycheck’, run a mile. But not before you’ve asked this next one.
5. What are the opportunities like within the company? Is there a chance to progress?
Knowing whether you have a future with a company early on can only be a good thing. Because the last thing you want is to accept the job and find out you will be working in the same role for as long as you are on the books.
Asking about your future shows you’re passionate about your career, too. And that you see a long-term relationship with the company, which will please the interviewer.
6. How can I impress in the first three months?
Most jobs have a three-month probationary period, in which it’s your chance to shine. Knowing what they expect from you will help you kick on and smash through this period.
More than anything, though, it shows you’re eager to impress. Plus, if you get through the probationary period having met the targets they set, it shows that you can do the job.
Questions About the Next Steps
7. What’s your timeline for the next steps?
This one’s pretty straightforward, but when the adrenaline’s pumping, it’s easy to forget to ask when you’ll hear a response. The wait can be agonising after a job interview, so knowing the company’s timeline will ease some of the worries that can settle in if you haven’t heard back after a week or two.