Turning the tables – preparing your own interview questions

Posted 19.11.14 by prhcareers

So you’ve prepared well for your interview – you’ve given great examples of your experience, you’ve demonstrated your passion for the role and you’ve even nailed a couple of the more tricky questions. Once the interviewer has asked you all their questions, they are likely to turn to you near the end of the interview and ask what you want to know. And when the tables are turned, it’s good to be prepared.

People might sometimes see job interviews as a sort of examination; a one sided line of questioning for the interviewer to find out if you are the right candidate for them. But think again! The interview should allow both parties to find out if they’re a good match. Of course the company needs to find out if you have the skills needed for this particular role, but this is also the time for you to find out if this is a company you would like to work for, and a role you would enjoy.

By this point you should have done a fair bit of research on the company in your interview preparation and you probably have a relatively good overview, but this is your chance to delve a bit deeper.

There are two opportunities here – firstly, you get to show that you have come prepared, and that you’ve done your research and secondly, this is a great chance to get a better understanding of the role  and the company that you are potentially going to be working for.

Not having any questions to ask at the end of your interview could send out a message that you haven’t done your homework, or that you aren’t particularly interested in the role – and you don’t want to fall at that last hurdle.

You could even say asking questions at your interview is just as important as answering them.  Here are a few sample questions from us, but we know you’re an imaginative bunch, so we’re sure you can come up with some far better examples when it comes down to it!

What is the top priority for the team and for this position within the first few months?

This is a chance to get more information on what is expected from you right from the start. This should also a good way of finding out expectations in general and what direction the team is taking their strategy in the near future.

What are the key skills and abilities necessary for someone to succeed in this job?

Your interview is likely to be with someone from the area of work you are applying for; therefore hearing their views on the most important skills can be both useful and interesting. This may also give you information that you can explore and relate back to in a potential second interview.

What has the employee previously in this position gone on to do? / Is this a new position?

Finding out what the previous person in this position has moved onto is a good way of finding out and move the conversation in to potential career opportunities. If this is a new role, you might find out more about the company’s plans for the future, i.e. are they expanding?

A personal question to your interviewer – e.g. what do you enjoy the most about your job? What is the best thing about working here? What is the most exciting project you’ve been part of here?

This is a great way of finding out first-hand about the culture of the company and the department, and generally, people really enjoy talking about themselves, so a question like this will hopefully yield some really interesting information!

The key is to ask questions that are relevant to the company and role you are applying for. Preparing and asking a few well-suited, knowledgeable questions will help you leave a strong, long lasting impression when you walk out of the interview.

We remember the great questions as well as the great answers.