Janine Marin - communications expert
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Job interviews are about as fun as extracting wisdom teeth – it’s painful but it’s got to be done. What I find to be the worst part of the interview process, though, is not the nerves or thinking ‘what the hell are they going to ask?’

It’s the waiting game… you know, that (dreaded) time between the interview and when you hear from them next, when the cinema in your mind starts screening ‘what if’ and ‘should’ve’ scenes: “What if they don’t like me?” “I should’ve answered that question better.” “What if they saw through my BS?” This type of self-inflicted pain can go on and on.

So, how do you minimise the risk of stuffing up a job interview?

  Like I said earlier, job interviews are painful but you can lessen the pain if you remember one thing: ask them questions.

It was only in the latter half of my 20’s that I mustered the courage to ask my future employer questions in the interview and put them on the spot.

It was actually empowering for me, and ever since then I’ve armed myself with questions. Like I wrote in this blog about the ‘10 questions you must ask your future employer during a job interview’, job interviews are your best opportunity to find out if a company is a good fit for you.

Amy Hoover, president of TalentZoo, says there’s another reason you should always prepare questions. “It’s expected — and if you don’t ask at least two questions, you will appear disinterested, or worse, less intelligent and engaged than a prospective employer would like.”

Dave Kerpen, Founder & CEO, Likeable Local, NY Times Best-Selling Author & Speaker, shares the same view on his blog, saying that if you don’t ask questions you might as well not show up:

“She answered all of my questions well, and seemed like a potential excellent fit for our company. Yet, despite all of this, she didn’t receive another interview, and I absolutely couldn’t seriously consider hiring her. What went wrong? …. By not asking questions, she told me she wasn’t truly interested in learning more, in creating value, and in our company. I couldn’t hire an otherwise very-well-qualified candidate because, in her lack of questions, she displayed a lack of passion for, interest in, and curiosity about our company and the position.”

So, how should you best prepare for when the tables are turned and the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?”  

  • Research what’s worked for others: Google ‘questions to ask during a job interview’ and you’ll have 4 million search results to choose from. You can’t go wrong. Or, you could easily see the top 10 questions I’ve asked in job interviews which have left a great impression time and time again.
  • Choose 5, ask 3: Shortlist your questions to five and ask three in the interview. I recommend asking a question about career progression, company culture and how your role fits into the company’s vision.
  • Take a notebook: In majority of my interviews I’ve taken a notebook with me full of key company information and my questions to ask. Having this allows me to comfortably listen to the interviewer, jot down important points and have my questions handy.  I’ve done this in the past and it’s never done any harm.

Remember, a job interview is a two-way street – it’s as much about you as it is about them. Do your research, shortlist your questions, have your notebook handy, take a deep breath and walk in with your head held high … you got this!

Any questions or advice you can share to help fellow job seekers out? If you’re a manager, any questions you advise interviewees NOT to ask? Share your advice below – would love to hear it.

expert interview questions

Job interviews are your best opportunity to  ask the curly questions…

Often when you’re at a job interview, the focus is on you selling yourself and your skills for the position.

In the majority of cases, you leave the job interview thinking of the many questions you didn’t ask OR regretting the questions you did.

Remember, though, that choosing a new job is also about choosing an employer – are they a good fit for your career goals and will you progress professionally and personally at this new workplace? I remind my clients that workplaces are a second home, considering the time you will spend there.

The best time to find out if a company is a good fit for you is during your interview. Why? Because you will have senior members giving you their full attention in a situation where questions about the company are invited (and expected).

So, to help you land a great job that suits YOU here are my top 10 questions to ask during a job interview.

1/ What challenges do you think this position could encounter in the first 6-12 months and how do you hope the new hire will overcome them?

Why this question?

To give you a better insight of the challenges you could encounter and how your future boss expects you to fix them. So, if their answer is a long, long list of challenges or they’re challenges that aren’t a good fit for your skills, you know that this job isn’t for you.

2/ How would my role affect the business in the short, medium and long-term?

Why this question?

This will paint you a pretty good picture of how your position impacts the wider business and it will give you an idea of the potential longevity of the position.

3/ How does this company support personal and professional development?

Why this question?

Most of the time, you walk into an interview thinking about how much you can offer the company but have you thought about what they can offer you? This is one of the

important questions because their answer will indicate how much your personal and professional growth matters to them and it will give you an insight into how much budget (if any) they for something so important.

4/ What does success look like to you in this role?

Why this question?

I like this question for two reasons: 1) regardless if this role is your dream job or a stepping-stone to it, you want to know how to keep your employer happy and asking this question will give you the answer. 2) Their answer will let you know if you can achieve the success they expect.

5/ Can you tell me about your experience at this company?

Why this question?

This question gives you insight into your future boss and their career progression in the company. For example, their answer could include how long they’ve been in this company, whether they’ve progressed and how quickly (or slowly), or if they’ve been in the company for years and haven’t seen changes in that time. It puts them in the hot seat and it’s worth it.

Get all 10 interview questions here in a download-friendly format, so you can take them with you!