Asking great questions in job interviews is crucial!
Firstly it shows a high level of interest, enthusiasm, and engagement in the role you’re going for, as well the business you’re looking to work with.
Secondly, it allows you to build rapport with the interviewer. This can become the X factor that sets you apart from the other applicants, and leaves a great lasting impression with the interviewer.
Let’s dive in!
1. What Will An Average Day Look Like?
This is my favourite questions. I love it for a few key reasons.
First off it allows you to have a set question in the chamber and ready to fire when the moment arises. It also allows you to get an accurate representation of what your job will look and feel like.
The last thing you want is to start your job thinking it’s going to be one way…and then after a month realise it’s completely different.
So again, this question will give you a feel for the rhythm of your job. And it also gives you a bit of confidence going into the job interview. Why? Because you’ll go in knowing you’ve got a core question ready to ask when the question time turns to you.
2. Who Will My Key Stakeholders Be?
Yes, it’s important to know what work you’ll be doing, and who your boss, manager, and or supervisor is going to be…
However, it’s also important to know who your stakeholders will be. Because the amount of stakeholders that orbit your role will make the difference between a simple job, and a densely complicated job.
Just to be clear, a complicated job doesn’t mean a bad job. It’s just important to understand this element because it’s often overlooked.
Your stakeholders are the periphery departments, teams, and leadership members who have an active stake in certain tasks you do. For example, if you’re a graphic designer working on a website, then you’ll no doubt have stakeholders in the content team who may write some of the content on the graphics…as well as the SEO team who do the metadata for the graphic…and the UX team who monitor image sizes for site speed.
See what I mean?
In my first dream job I only had two stakeholders: my operations manager, and my boss. However, in my current role I have stakeholders in our marketing team, SEO team, commercial team, performance team, and legal team.
Like I said, complicated isn’t better or worse. You just need to understand the scope of the machine you’re entering.
3. What’s The Core Skill Someone Would Need To Step Into This Role And Crush It?
As I got better at job interviews, and answering these kinds of questions, I started to ask questions that got to the core of what the interviewer, and myself, wanted to know.
For example, straight up asking the interviewer what the core skills are that the successful applicant would need thrive in the role is a very direct question.
This question is also great because the interviewer almost gives away the ONE BIG THING they’re looking for.
What can you do with this information?
Well it allows you to frame a response to their answer that colours YOU as being the person who has this skill.
In an interview for my last dream job, I asked my interviewer this question. He replied by saying “We’re looking for someone who can approach content creation and amplification from a customer acquisition perspective.”
This allowed me to reply with something along the lines of…
“That’s awesome. Because I’m very much a sales oriented content writer. I don’t think that content is something which should just sit on the blog catching dust. It should play a vital role in nurturing new prospects, and bring them closer to becoming a paying client.”
Do you see what I did there? I took their core criteria, and associated it with my professional philosophy, and my skills. If you want to make that response even better, you can associate it with your experience too.
4. Does The Company Invest In Its Employees?
Like all of the questions we’ve previously discussed, the benefits of this question are twofold.
Asking this kind of question shows that you value your own professional development. It shows them that you’re confident, that you’re looking to grow and be challenged, and that you’re ambitious.
Most companies aren’t looking to hire someone who’ll leave the company with as many skills as when they walked in. They want to people who’re going to be challenged by their role, and in many ways grow into it, and eventually outgrow it.
In top of this, most companies will want you to define and map your professional development. Management departments and HR are there to help shape their employees development inside a company.
That said, this is how things should work “theoretically.” Just how much a business and its HR department manufacture opportunities that align with your professional development is questionable.
Which is why it’s so important to ask if the business invest in its employees, and get a clear understanding around how it does so.
It goes without saying that any additional training you get on the job is AMAZING. Not only did you get the training for free, but you were PAID to get it.
Just to clarify…this can be anything from courses, conferences, mentoring, or on-the-job training.
5. Are There Any Key Weaknesses We Can Work Together To Solve?
Here’s what I mean by this question…
Essentially every role inside a company requires problem solving, as well as doing everyday tasks. Every employee sits inside a team, which sits inside a department, which has goals to fuel development, sales, and growth inside the business as a whole.
So for every role they hire, they’re looking for someone who’s able to step up to the challenge of solving existing, or new problems within the business.
It can set you in good stead to ask what these kinds of problems are, and then start discussing them together.
Much like the other questions above, this will help build rapport with your interviewer. It also takes the focus off you, and off the interview itself, and turns the discussion into a kind of “semi-business meeting.”
6. Is There Room To Grow In This Role?
This is another question you want to get on the table early. It’s benefits come from two angles.
In the interview it shows your ambitious, and that you’re looking to grow and take on more responsibility. Then if you get the job, it also puts your desire to move up the ladder on their radar.
Having it on their radar gives them the green light to push you into opportunities inside the business. Opportunities that can help foster your transition into higher roles with more responsibility and a heftier pay packet.
How they answer the question can give you some good intelligence. You might discover that the company usually only hires externally for senior positions. That’s not usually a company you want to work for. Ideally, the company hires internally, and invests in its employees. Allowing anyone, in almost any role, the opportunity to grow into more senior positions.
Like I said, that would be the ideal scenario. Either way, it’s an important question to ask.
Show A Desire To Understand How The Business Works
Now that we’ve discussed some of the core questions to ask in a job interview…
I just wanted to touch on an extra point to consider.
And that’s that you want to take any opportunity you can during the interview to show a desire to understand how the business works. As well as how your role can help achieve broader business objectives.
Wanting to understand how the business works, again, shows enthusiasm and excitement about the role and the business. Interviewers aren’t just looking for some who can do the job, they’re also looking for someone who WANTS the job.
Keep those two important distinctions in mind when going for your job interview.
To Sum Up Here…
The most important questions to ask in a job interview include are:
1. What will an average day look like?
2. Who will my key stakeholders be?
3. What do you see as the core skill someone would need to come in and crush it in this role?
4. Does the company invest in its employees?
5. Are there any key weaknesses we can work together to solve?
As always feel free to post any feedback or questions below.
And if you know anyone who’d benefit from this article, please share it with them!
You Might Also Like:
- Common Job Interview Questions & How To Answer Them
- The 3 Most Important Things To Do In Any Job Interview
- How To Have Rock-Solid Confidence In Job Interviews
- 7 Things To Do Before Starting A New Job
Will Vaughan is the Founder & CEO of Your Career Mastery. He’s dedicated to helping young professionals discover and land the job of their dreams using a mix of proven strategies, tips, tools, and mindsets. He currently works as a Content & SEO manager for a 100 million dollar tech company in Melbourne, Australia.