Making a Strong First Impression: 12 Important Questions to ask during an Interview

Written by Dave Cullen

Interviews can be a nerve racking affair. A candidate should take the time to conduct considerable research into the company they are applying to work for and also carefully prepare their answers to common interview questions. However, it is also important to create a list of suitable questions to ask the interviewer, after all, the interview should be a two-way communication process. There are many reasons why you will be asked at the end of the interview if you have any questions. Firstly, it allows you to determine if this company will be the right fit for you based on the content of their responses. Secondly, asking well thought out questions will allow you to showcase your insightful and inquisitive qualities.

iStock_000012124178XSmallCandidates who ask questions will be perceived as being experienced, astute and genuinely interested in the role they are interviewing for. The employer will be encouraged by their inquiring and independent nature and conclude that they will bring more value to the company than a candidate who asks no questions at all. An employer wishes to hire someone who will bring a fresh perspective to their organisation. Because you don’t yet work for them, you are unencumbered by the conventional wisdom of the business, you are an unbiased observer and may be able to offer some new ideas and alternative ways to solve some existing problems.

Because the dynamics of a role will differ from one company to the next and not all industries have the same requirements of candidates, it is important to understand the types of questions you should ask in each situation. Nevertheless, there are some important basic questions that apply in almost all cases.

The following is a list of some questions to be asked about the position itself:

  • Why is this position available?
  • Can you describe a typical day in this position?
  • How does this position factor into the long-term goals of the organisation?
  • How would my performance be measured for this role?
  • How has this role been performed previously and what changes or improvements would you like to make?

The following is a list of some company-specific questions:

  • Do you like working here?
  • What kind of work is delegated to staff?
  • Can you talk about some of the goals and targets the business would like to achieve over the next 5 years?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development and training within the organisation?
  • How would you describe the company’s culture?

Along with the above questions, it is also advised that you conclude by asking the following:

  • I would certainly be interested in this role. Do you have any concerns about me being a good fit for this position? – This question is important because it allows you to address any concerns the interviewer may have about your suitability.
  • What is your expected time frame for responding to candidates about the next stage of the hiring process? – This question should give you some indication as to when it would be appropriate to follow-up with them.
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