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When most people prepare for a job interview, they focus only on the questions the interviewers might ask them. But I’ll let you in on something: having your own questions prepared can really make you stand out, as well as helping you make sure the job is the right one for you.

At the stage of a job interview where the interviewers ask, ‘Do you have any questions for us?’, often candidates simply answer ‘No’. But not asking questions isn’t generally a good look, especially if other candidates have had lots of questions for the employer. Having well-considered questions to ask during a job interview is a major opportunity to demonstrate intelligence and show you’ve done your research.

Something I consistently emphasise to job candidates is that these days, a job interview is a two-way street. Candidates are interviewing their future employer just as much as the employer is interviewing them. Interviews are becoming less about a straight Q&A with the candidate and more about meaningful conversations with potential employers.

If you’re struggling to come up with some great questions to ask during a job interview, don’t worry. I’ve put together five great questions to get you started and help you stand out amongst other candidates.

What would you expect from this role and me as a person over the first three months of employment?

Being very clear on the requirements of the role from the outset is vital. This kind of question is important not only because it allows you to get a better idea of the job, but also because it demonstrates that you’re focused on the expectations and standards involved in the role. Ask the interviewers to tell you more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the job, and ask follow-up questions about anything that’s unclear.

What are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?

A common question from interviewers is: ‘What qualities do you have that make you a suitable candidate for this position?’ By asking the interviewers what they see as the most important qualities for candidates, you’re turning this question on its head and giving yourself further opportunity to demonstrate why you’re a perfect fit.

Be careful here not to double up on any information that was in the original job advertisement. Many job ads list the qualities they’re looking for in candidates upfront, so if this is the case, reword the question slightly. For example: ‘The job posting mentioned that candidates for this role need to have good organisational and communication skills. Are there any other qualities that would help someone excel in this role?’

What have previous employees done to succeed in this position?

This question shows that you’re willing to do everything you can to meet and exceed expectations in the role. It also gives you an idea of what the company considers a ‘successful’ employee, both in terms of this particular position and in the wider context of the company and its culture. Which brings us to our next question…

Can you tell me more about the company culture and working environment?

Ask the interviewers about the company culture and the environment you would be working in. This involves things like the vision, values, attitudes, team relationships and general ‘vibe’ of the workplace environment. Consider how you would fit into such a culture and environment.

You can get a brief idea of the answer to this question by doing a little research before your interview – see the ‘Bonus tips’ section below.

What are the next steps in the interview process after my interview?

This is one of the most important questions to ask during a job interview. It will help you understand what to expect and how to prepare for any further stages in the process.

There’s nothing worse than finishing an interview then waiting around for days, wondering if and when you’ll be proceeding to the next stage! This question also shows interviewers that you are forward-thinking, keen on the role and eager to know what else you can do to demonstrate that you’re an ideal candidate.

Bonus tips

So there you have five great questions to ask during a job interview. To finish off, here are a few bonus tips to help you prepare for the interview conversation.

  • Research the company – Don’t risk going into your interview with generic questions that you could have answered yourself through a little digging! Jump online and research the company and its values. Try to refer back to what you’ve learned, and explain how your own values or experiences match up.
  • Avoid yes-or-no questions – These aren’t really conducive to a meaningful conversation, so stick to questions that require broader answers. However…
  • Avoid questions that are too broad – These can be difficult to answer, especially in an interview situation where time is limited, so somewhere in between is good!

For more tips and information about job interview preparation, contact me on alissa.bower@gwgpartners.com.au or give me a call on 0411 043 537.

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