Asking The Right Interview Questions

Published on: 27 Feb 2015

An interview is an opportunity not only for the company to ascertain whether you’re the right candidate for them, but also your opportunity to gather as much information as possible about the role and firm’s fit for your immediate and long-term career goals.  

Towards the end of an interview, most people will ask if you have any questions for them – and this can be a crucial part of the interview; never respond with a flat “no” as this can be interpreted as a lack of interest or preparation.

To use this part of the interview to your full advantage, draw upon things you learnt whilst doing your preparations such as:

•    I noticed on your careers page that several people mentioned it’s a fun place to work; what creates that culture?
•    I saw on your news page you’ve recently opened an office in Dubai; what further expansion plans does the firm have?
•    I noticed when looking on LinkedIn that several people in the team have been here a number of years and also progressed within the firm; could you tell me more about how they’ve been developed and supported by the firm?

More general questions are a great tool for you to find out more about the team, firm and line manager, such as:

•    What made you choose to come and work here?  What do you like about working here?
•    Why is the position vacant?
•    What is the team structure and what are the personalities like in the team?
•    What would you say are the three most important skills needed to excel in this position?
•    What do you think distinguishes this company from its competitors, both from a public and employee perspective?  How has marketing contributed to that?
•    What challenges might I face in this position?
•    How would I be measured and appraised in the role?
•    What is your management style?
•    What is the long-term strategy for the firm?

There are a few ‘no-go’ areas that just aren’t appropriate questions at interview.  These are generally things that can be answered by your recruiter and should be addressed to them in the first instance.  A few of the ones to avoid include:

•    Never ask about hours, salary or career progression in the first interview, unless the interviewer brings it up first.  Similarly avoid asking about time off, benefits, etc. 
•    Never ask for information you could have easily found with a quick Google search such as how many offices do you have or what does the company do?
•    “Is the job title or grade negotiable?”

Guest article by Legal and Professional Services recruitment experts, Anthem Consulting