During my career journey, I have learned a lot about conducting myself, interview etiquette, and most importantly, which questions really blow your prospective employers away. Some questions can be quite boring and possibly be the same as all the other candidates before and after you, whilst some are downright no-nos for the first interview stage. In order to make yourself memorable, you need something that will stick with your interviewer(s) and make you seem incredibly keen about the role you are interviewing for. Use a handful of these questions to do just that.
What is the employee turnover within the company?
This question allows you to see how happy employees are within the company without directly asking. If the employee turnover is high and the interviewer can’t give you a reason for this (or if is not a sector in which high turnovers are common, i.e sales), then ask yourself is this really a company I want to work for? A low turnover guarantees that there is enough work for everyone, staff are happy and there are enough opportunities for growth within the company for every employee, or else they would be looking elsewhere for their next step up.
Is there room for growth within the role?
If you want to cement your long term interest in the role, ensure you ask this question. Asking this implements to the interviewer that you are not looking for something short term and are not a serial company-hopper. I find this question especially important as I am guilty of company hopping for the past few roles I have had, however, I need to ensure that the interviewers are certain I am looking to move away from this old habit and I would like to remain loyal to a company I can grow and flourish in.
Why has this role become vacant?
The answer to this question is being increasingly answered within the conversation which comes before your opportunity to ask questions, I have found. However, if this is not answered beforehand, there could be a reason for this. There are a number of reasons the role you have applied for could have become vacant: a promotion, a move within the company, a rapidly growing company, even emigration. All of these answers are majorly positive signs that the person in this role has had the ability to grow, or that the company is in a really good position at the time of your interview. However, if the person filling the role before you has moved on to another company, it could be a sign of stagnant work, or an unhappy workplace – linking back to the employee turnover.
What does a typical day in this role look like?
Chances are that no two days in a modern day role will look the same, especially in the creative and marketing sectors. It does, however, provide an opportunity for the interviewer to elaborate on the job specification to tell you a little more about the role in depth, and the exact areas you will be working in. For example, a digital marketing role may be advertised with a number of potential duties on the job spec, but when it comes down to it, they actually only want you to cover SEO and PPC, or social and copy writing. Some interviewers will also go into detail in work-based perks whilst answering this question too, such as office drinks on a Friday or paid overtime opportunities.
What type of person succeeds at X company?
I promise every time you ask this question you will get a different response. Most of the time they will cover hard work and dedication to the company, but other than that it’s a bit of a free for all out there! The nature of this question will also allow you to determine whether the company is a good fit for you, as this is just as important as you being a good fit for the company. Some companies may expect work outside of the 9-5 in order to succeed, whereas others may value teamwork skills over the ability to work as an individual. Sometimes it even depends on the structure of the team within the company, with different teams valuing very different skills to each other.
Now you have met me, what do you think my biggest challenge would be in this role?
This is my ultimate interview question and even if you don’t get to ask any other questions, make sure you get this answered if you are keen on the role. I always ask this question last to iron out any doubts the interviewer may have about you, if they have a doubt about a skill you may not have spoken about, or they have misunderstood an answer, it is a chance to put their mind at ease and reassure them that you are the right candidate for the role. Every interview I have used this question in, I have blown the interviewer away and have left them struggling for an answer. I find it truly cements your interest in the role and potentially provides something for you to work on for future roles or before a second interview.
The ones to avoid.
Avoid asking anything about salary or non-work related perks until you are negotiating your wage once you have been offered the role. It is also worth researching the company beforehand to avoid asking a question which could easily be found on their website or in a news article – this would make you seem incredibly uninterested in the role and hugely under prepared for the interview. One of the biggest mistakes to make, however, is turning up with no questions at all. If you have a handful of questions prepared, the worst that can happen is that you have to explain that the interviewer had already answered them all during your discussion, which is not an issue at all.
The key thing to remember when heading to your interview is to be yourself and show the interviewer why you are a great fit for the company. You’ve already impressed with your skill set otherwise you wouldn’t have been offered an interview, so this is all about you and your personality fit with the company. You’ve got this!