17 questions to ask in an interview | Main Region
17 questions to ask in an interview
How can you improve your likelihood of success in a job interview? Luckily, there is one piece of advice we can offer to improve your chance of success enormously and it can be summarised in four words: Ask the right questions.
Asking the right questions in an interview
An interview has always been a two-way conversation. While the interviewer wants to get a clear picture of your skills, experience and suitability for the role, you’re also assessing whether this is an organisation in which you can succeed and thrive. So, when the interview says, “Do you have any questions to ask me?”, you need to use this opening to delve into the issues that are important to your own future success.
Furthermore, when an interviewer asks you if you have any questions for them, at all costs you want to avoid saying “no”. Having no questions to ask your interviewer gives an impression of disinterest or of a passive nature. At the same time, poor questions, such as only asking “How long is the trial period?”, or “How many days holiday do I get?” are also unimpressive. Employers want to hire people who visualise doing their job well, not focusing immediately on their remuneration or benefits.
Ensuring you have questions to ask in an interview is also key to demonstrating your interest in the role and convincing the interviewer that you are an ideal candidate. So, come to the meeting with a few pre-prepared and varied questions to ask. Don’t be afraid to have a pen and paper to take note of the answers, too.
Questions to ask in an interview
Following are some questions to ask in an interview. These questions will help you understand the role better, while simultaneously impressing the hiring manager. We have divided these interview questions to ask into six sections.
1. Is this role new? If not, how has it 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.
2. Is there scope for career progression?
This is another classic question, which shows you have career ambitions and want to get on in the world. It will also reveal something about how talent is nurtured and promoted within the organisation.
3. Can you tell me a bit about the predecessor of the role?
This is a tactful way of determining exactly what skills and experience are required in the job. 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.
4. What does a typical day look like?
This is the best question to help you visualise yourself in the role; you can then decide whether it’s for you or not.
5. Can you tell me more about the team?
If possible, try and research your colleagues before the interview, such as on the organisation’s website or LinkedIn. In addition, you can ask about them and the team’s working style in your interview. Getting on with your colleagues is crucial to your job satisfaction and you’ll want to ensure that your ways of working are aligned.
6. Who are the key stakeholders?
It can be difficult to understand the full extent of your role from a job description, so use the interview to establish which departments and people you’ll be liaising with most often. You can then decide whether your skillset is suited to the role.
7. How does the team fit into the overall structure of the company?
This question signals your interest in working as a team as you want to know where you will fit in and contribute to the organisation’s long-term success.
8. What constitutes success for the team and the role?
This is a good question to ask to understand the organisation’s priorities, which you can then compare against your own. It will also help you understand what the business expects from their employees, leading to further conversation around how individual performance is measured.
9. 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 hiring manager – something which is key to your interview success.
10. From your perspective, what’s it like to work here?
This is one of those seemingly innocent questions that can tell you a lot about the work culture at the organisation. It can also be a way of communicating your desire to work in a positive environment, and that you’re someone who likes to get the best out of yourself. Remember, a convivial work environment has a remarkable effect on the overall productivity and success of you and the organisation.
11. What is your management style when leading hybrid teams? Are there any best practices that you live by?
If the role you are interviewing for is office-based, and the organisation has a hybrid working plan in place, you can ask about how this operates in practice. This allows you to understand how hybrid teams are managed and what support you can expect to receive when working offsite.
12. 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.
13. How long do employees usually remain with the business?
It’s good to get an idea of how long employees stay on average with the employer, so you can gain a clear insight into how well they are treated.
14. What were your key learns from the Covid-19 crisis, both from a business and a leadership point of view?
No organisation was left unchanged from the coronavirus pandemic. Many were forced to reconfigure long-standing processes, find new ways of working, seek out new markets or even develop new products or services, all in record time.
Mistakes will have inevitably been made along the way, but it’s how organisations and their leaders learned from those lessons, and crucially, took what they learned into the future that matters the most.
Learning and development
15. How often will my performance be reviewed?
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, proactive approach to assessing individual performance, and that you won’t be forgotten about. It also shows that you welcome feedback.
16. 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 that will be of benefit to you and the organisation. Having access to adequate training resources is crucial to your professional growth, no matter what stage of your career you’re at.
17. What’s the next step?
Don’t forget to ask the hiring manager what comes next! You can then prepare yourself adequately for the next stage of the hiring process.
Do you ask about salary?
Negotiating a salary can be tricky. While you may be tempted to ask about the salary on offer in your first interview, it is not advisable to do so. If you are working with a recruiter, talk to them about your salary expectations. If not, wait until the employer raises the topic with you. Read more tips for discussing your salary expectations.
Remember, you can use our Hays Salary Guide to see the average, minimum and maximum salaries for your role and location. This will help you when negotiating a salary.
Only time for one question?
If at the end of the interview, you only want to ask one question, make sure it’s this job interview question. This question shows that you are interested in the role and motivated to achieve the required results. It also paints a picture in the interviewer’s mind of you doing the job well.
Bringing it all together
Remember, your upcoming job interview is just as much about you analysing whether this is the right role and organisation for you, as it is about the interviewer deciding whether you are the best candidate. So, use this as an opportunity to ask the most relevant, considered and topical questions to ensure you’re making the right career decision.
For more on preparing for a job interview download your copy of the Hays Interview Guide below.