Job hunting is a stressful process, finding appropriate jobs to apply for, worrying about the content and quality of your CV(s) and cover letter(s), and waiting…waiting to hear back from that company you really want an interview with. Then something amazing happens, you get called in for an interview! You feel happy, proud even, suddenly everything seems better – for 5 minutes – then the realisation sinks in. AN INTERVIEW!? What do I do? How do I conduct myself? How can I make them like me? Yes, you now realise that the interview, and the time leading up to it, is the most stressful part of the process. As such, many candidates seem to forget an interview is not only an opportunity for the company to judge whether you’re the right fit for the role on offer, but also a chance for you to judge whether this company is the right fit for you.

Candidates will spend an exorbitant amount of time worrying about what questions they may get asked at the interview, giving less focus to drafting their own questions for the interviewer(s). Here are some questions that you can ask to help you decide if this company is for you:

What is the company culture like here?

When looking to start a job at a new company it is very important to figure out whether your character will fit in with their culture. You want to know that you will be surrounded with likeminded individuals, and give yourself the best chance of being happy in your workplace. Also, you want to know that your prospective colleagues aren’t uptight and will be up for a post work drink on a Friday evening.

What is the reason for this vacancy?

This question will show your interest in the specific role that is on offer, but also will help you identify if this is a new position, and if not, why the previous employee vacated the role. This could provide you with some insights on the potential challenges you may face in this role, as well as any possible incompatibility you may have with the position.

Are there opportunities to progress within the company?

Asking this will show your commitment to professional growth, but also to rising through the ranks at the company. This will paint you as forward thinking, and show that you are dedicated to building your career with them. It will also ensure that you are informed of whether there is room for monetary and professional growth, if that is something you deem important when looking for a role.

What are a couple of the challenges generally faced with this role?

A question like this demonstrates that you are already thinking ahead to what issues you may encounter within the position, and how to overcome them. This will show the interviewer(s) that you are forward thinking, focused on problem solving, and dedicated to overcoming any potential difficulties. You will also be able to asses if there are facets to the job that you may not feel comfortable handling.

Ideally what impact would you want the person in this role to have?

This will help you understand what exactly the company expects from you in regards to your effect on the business. It also provides you with an opportunity to identify how you could meet and possibly surpass the company’s expectations for a candidate in this role, and will show the interviewer(s) that you are geared towards success.

These 5 questions will make an interviewer take note, and realise that you are serious about the position, but also provide you with important information to ascertain whether this is the right role for you. To end an interview you could also ask do you have any reservations about me continuing to the next phase? This will give you the chance to respond to any uncertainties the interviewer(s) may have about you, and What is the next step in the process? Which will give you information about when and how you can expect a reply, and what comes next.

Want more interview advice? Have a look at our tips on do’s and don’ts to help you prepare for your next interview.

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