Do you have any questions for me?

As recruiters we spend a lot of time with employers and candidates and we have come to learn a great deal about what questions you should and shouldn’t ask in a job interview.

We have all been in the situation where we are dressed to impress, arrive in good time, have done our best to make a good impression at reception and greet our interviewer with a friendly smile and firm handshake, before waiting to be invited to take a seat.

You have covered all the basics and you feel the interview is going well with lots of questions about your expertise, experience and aspirations. As the session seems to draw to a close you are asked if you have any questions.  

This part of the interview can be the make or break part of the process, so never say “No. I think you have answered all the questions I had.”  You will get out of the door quicker, but are unlikely to return through it! In reality the vast majority of people prepare some questions in advance, to demonstrate to the prospective employer that they are forward-thinking, career minded and driven. Some of the standard questions we hear time and time again are…

  • How could I progress in the business?
  • What is the pension/healthcare scheme?
  • How much holiday would I get?
  • What is the dress code?
  • What are the working hours?
  • Where is the business going in the next five years?

We all want answers to all of these questions before we take a job (if we are given an offer). But the objective is to get to that stage, so you want to try and make yourself stand out from other candidates.  Here are a selection of questions that we hope will help you get that competitive edge… 

What would the first 30 days look like in the business?

This is a popular question for an interviewer to ask to see if you would hit the ground running. If the question isn’t posed try turning it around and invite them to build a picture of what the role would look like from day one. It will show you are eager to get started and will help you decide if the job is what you are looking for. 

What are the three biggest challenges the company faces this year?

Also ask if these are the same for the department you would be working for. This will give you an idea of what lies ahead for your time in the business. Plus, if you have faced these challenges before, it gives you the opportunity to discuss your experiences. 

What are the next steps in the hiring process?

This will give you a clear picture of the hiring process, demonstrate your interest in the role and tell you how long you should expect to wait before hearing back from them. 

Is there any preparation you would advise me to do before starting this role?

A bold question that shows your ability to plan ahead and take the initiative. 

Why did you join the business? And what has made you stay?

This is a great way to connect with your interviewer and to understand what makes people within the business tick. 

How well do you think my interview went? Can you see any reason why I am not right for this role? If you could change anything about my skill set what would it be?

A few variations of a bold question. However, it shows a keen interest in the role and particularly if you are interviewing for a sales oriented role, it demonstrates your desire to close a deal.  What is more, if your interviewer shares their feedback you have the opportunity to discuss it, helping both of you to come to a decision sooner. 

These are not the de facto questions to ask, nor should you ask them all. In our experience those who take the time to ask insightful questions are not only more likely to receive an offer, but are also far better placed to know whether to accept it.