Why should you ask questions in an interview?

Great blog on health and safety job interviews from our Consultant Emily Dainton -

It is important to have a set of questions ready to ask at the end of an interview. What is good to ask and what are best avoided?

Why should you ask questions in an interview?

Most interviewers will often wrap up a meeting by asking “do you have any questions for me?” and for some, this response will come naturally, however most of us find ourselves worrying about what to ask and how we can use this opportunity to our advantage.  

Asking the right questions at the end of an interview is extremely valuable as it highlights your interest in both the role and the company and will allow you the opportunity to prove how well you have researched the organisation. Similarly, not only do questions act as a platform to better your own representation, but they also give you a chance to gain more information and a better understanding of the role.

Where to start and how to prepare?

The most obvious place to start would be browsing the company’s website, however researching further afield is likely to give you an opportunity to ask a more knowledgeable questions that will impress the interviewer. For example, asking questions that reference recent news articles, major contract wins etc.

Preparing three or more questions is always beneficial as you may find that one or two of these are answered throughout the interview.  Be careful not to ask too many questions as this may suggest you have not prepared, however not asking any questions will cause the interviewer to presume you have little or no interest.

It is also important to be aware of time. If the interviewers body language suggests that they are keen to wrap up, be careful not to ask too many questions. Remember, there will always be other opportunities to ask these questions at a later date, whether this is through a recruiter or direct with the Hiring Manager. 

Preparing three or more questions is always beneficial as you may find that one or two of these are answered throughout the interview. 

What questions should you be asking?

Questions such as ‘what are you looking to achieve with this role?’ will highlight your interest in the position and show your long-term commitment to the helping the company grow. Also ‘what do you think is the most important skill that a candidate needs to be successful in this role?’. This is a valuable question to ask, as the answer from the interviewer will lay the foundations for a response that could make you the ‘perfect candidate’. If appropriate, you can use this to your advantage by giving examples of when you have demonstrated this particular skill throughout your career.

What should I avoid asking?

You should avoid asking anything that relates to compensation and try to focus solely on questions relating to the role and the organisation. For example, ‘what are the hours?’, ‘what is the salary?’ and ‘how much holiday will I get?’ are all questions that will suggest your interest lies predominantly with the benefits and pay, rather than the position itself. Also, be wary of asking questions that may generate a negative response. For example, asking about HSE incidents or loss of contracts that you may have seen whilst doing your research. 

So to summarise, preparation and planning are the two key components to a successful interview, particularly when it comes to asking the right questions. If you have an interview coming up, be sure to do your research and come prepared. Good luck! 

Posted on Friday Nov 29