What You Need To Ask At Every Interview

The Questions Everybody Should Ask Their Interviewer

Having interviewed thousands of people over the years, I generally have a formula that I adhere to. I know what sort of questions I’ll ask and what direction I want the interview to take. At the same time, there are also common traits that I look for in the people I’m meeting.

What you have to remember is that a vacancy is available because the company has a need or a problem. You have to position yourself as the best solution to that problem – and the mere fact that you have got to this stage means you are in their top bracket of candidates. So as much as the interviewer will ask you questions, you need to do the same. The company needs to sell themselves every bit as much as you.

If you get to the end of an interview and almost all the questions have been asked by the person at the other end of the table, then quite frankly it is highly unlikely you will get the job. Not only does it make you seem unconfident, but it gives the impression that you’re not actually that committed to getting the job. If you really want to work for somebody, then it makes sense to find out as much about them as possible – in particular things which you can’t glean from a mere job advert.

Here are some questions you should be asking at every single interview.

What are your short, medium and long-term goals?

This is one which always impresses me because it shows the candidate is interested in the vision of the business. I have said before that companies don’t hire people who are merely looking for a job – they hire people who want to work for them. Ask the interviewer where they see the business heading over the next year, and in particular, what their specific goals are for you and your department. As well as making a great impression on the company, it gives you an idea of what sort of expectations will be placed upon you.

What’s the culture like?

A job is not just a series of tasks, it is also the place where you will be spending a substantial amount of your time. Therefore you need to ask the interviewer what the company culture is like, because it should match up with what you want. For example, are you somebody who enjoys a high level of interaction with colleagues, or do you prefer autonomy? What managerial style do you work best under? Asking about the culture shows that you have a high attention to detail – and that’s something which goes down extremely well with any hiring manager.

What are the opportunities for progression?

You will probably be asked questions like: ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time’ – this is something I discussed in a previous blog. You then need to follow up on this and see if the company offers you the chance of progression. Remember – this doesn’t mean they need to offer you exactly what you want in 5 years. If you said you want to end up in a Directorship role, don’t expect the interviewer to say that’s exactly what they can offer you! But what they should provide is a rewarding environment where you have the opportunity to expand your skill set and climb up the ladder. A good company will not be put off by your ambition; in fact they will admire and encourage it.

How will I be measured?

Every job has its Key Performance Indicators, and although you may not get all of them in huge detail at the interview stage, you should at least have a broad idea. It very much depends on what the role is of course – the measurements for someone in a Finance role will be different to someone in Marketing for example. But you should walk out of that room knowing what you have to do to hit your targets and add value to the business.

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