Knowledge centre

Set yourself apart with good interview questions

We all know that a job opportunity can be won or lost at the interview stage. The quality of your answers, the rapport you share with those interviewing you, and how well you prepared all have a bearing on your overall performance.

If you’ve done well to do the necessary research, thought about why you really want the job, prepared solid examples to provide that demonstrate your skills, competence and experience, you might then want to consider a major – and very overlooked – component of the interview; your questions of them.   Remember too, that the interview is your opportunity to evaluate if this company is one you want to work for. By asking interesting, thoughtful questions, you might also give yourself the ‘edge’ over others.

Here are some good questions you might want to add to your repertoire:

  1. What do you see as the top three challenges for this position?
  2. How will my performance be measured?
  3. What would you expect me to have delivered or demonstrated within three to six months of starting?
  4. What is it about this organisation that you enjoy most? This is a great question for the recruiter! Helps you to better understand if it’s the sort of place you want to work for.
  5. How would you describe the culture?
  6. How would you describe your leadership style? Great question if you are being interviewed by the person to whom you would report.
  7. How is this function/team regarded within the organisation? Gives you a general impression of the sort of challenges you might face.

Recruiters are often dismayed by candidates who come unprepared to ask any questions at all. As a recruiter, our job is to anticipate everything you might need and want to know, so it is fair to expect that many of your questions may be answered throughout the interview. However, arriving with pad/paper, which clearly includes a number of questions is always a winning combination. It demonstrates you have thought about what you want to know, what is important to you and the employer.

Candidates that ask ‘out of the box’ questions typically impress. One of the more unique questions we’ve encountered from a candidate is “If this organisation was an animal, what animal would it be?” This was asked by a senior person interviewing for a leadership role. What a great question! It forced the recruiter to think carefully and to consider the sorts of attributes the organisation demonstrated. This gave the candidate an immediate perception of the organisation’s culture. Clever.