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Smart questions you should ask your interviewer

By David Brown, CEO of Hays U.S. on January 6th, 2020

Asking questions is crucial to demonstrate your interest in the role and convince the interviewer that you would do the job well. Come to the meeting with a few pre-prepared questions and don’t be afraid to have a pen and paper ready to make notes.

How has this role evolved?

The answer to this question will reveal whether the role has expanded to absorb modern practices and technology over time. The question shows you are keen to keep pace with advances, and have a positive attitude to change. You could use the conversation around this question to exhibit your knowledge of recent industry trends and developments.

Can you tell me a bit about the person who was previously in this role?

This is a tactful way of determining exactly what skills and experience are required for the role. You can use the interviewer’s appraisal of your predecessor to gauge exactly what it is you need to do to take the role to the next level.

Can you tell me more about my team?

If possible try and research your colleagues before the interview process. If not, or on top of that, try and find out as much as possible about them from the interviewer. Getting along with your colleagues is crucial to your job satisfaction.

What constitutes success for the team and the role?

This is a good way of finding out about the organization’s priorities, which you can then compare against your own. It will also help you understand what the business expects from their employees, leading on to further conversation around how individual performance is measured.

What’s your background?

Understanding your interviewer’s background and why they were selected to work for the employer can help you shape your own answers about what you might bring to the role. This question is also helpful in building rapport and finding common ground with the interviewer – something which is key to your interview success.

What are the main challenges and opportunities the business faces?

If you know the business has recently launched a new product or service, for example, you could work this into the question by asking how the new product is being received – showing them that you’ve done your research. The obvious follow-up is to then use this information to demonstrate how well suited you are to help them resolve their challenges.

How do you measure performance?

This is a searching question that signals your focus on building your career. You don’t want to get stuck. You want to know there’s a structured, pro-active approach to assessing individual performance, and that you won’t be forgotten about. It also shows that you welcome feedback.

What training opportunities are available?

This is a standard question but an important one to ask, not only for your own sake but to show you’re interested in acquiring new skills which will be of benefit to you and the organization. Having access to adequate training resources is crucial to your professional growth, no matter what stage of your career you’re at.

Remember that an interview is a two-way street. You are deciding whether you would want to work for the company just as much as the employer is evaluating you. Welcome the opportunity to ask questions to show your interest and learn details that will help you make an informed decision.

For more career advice visit the resources section of our website.

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