Choosing smart questions to ask in an interview

“Do you have any questions for me?”

As the interview draws to a close, it's common for hiring managers to ask if you have any questions. This isn't just a formality—when choosing smart questions to ask in an interview, your goal is twofold: it’s an opportunity to solidify your understanding of the role, company, and culture while showcasing your interest and suitability for the position.

We've gathered some questions from experts at Michael Page that cover some of the most important areas for candidates, like learning about your potential boss or the company's culture. Before your interview, pick the questions that matter most to you and write them down.

Also, remember to be respectful of the interviewer's time. If your time is almost up, ask just a couple of your top questions. You can always follow up in an email with any further questions around the role.

Importance of focusing your goals

Before diving into your questions, it's essential to remind yourself of your objectives. While one goal is to use these questions to determine if the opportunity is right for you, it's equally important to continue demonstrating why you're the perfect fit for the job.

Before the interview, decide on two or three key messages you want to convey about your suitability for the role. If you haven't had the chance to address them during the interview, now is the time to do so before transitioning to your questions.

Pro-tip: Avoid asking generic questions. Focus on top interview questions that show your qualifications and enthusiasm for the job. And while you can cherry pick from the examples below, remember to consider what’s most important to you.

Remember to prepare for salary negotiations

Example interview questions

Questions about the specific job:

Asking questions about the specific job allows you to gain a deeper understanding of your potential responsibilities, expectations, and opportunities for growth within the role.

You can determine if a job is a good fit for you by examining the daily tasks, goals, and resources. This will help you see if your skills, interests, and career goals align with the job.

If you’re like 86% of the 2,000 workers from our Page Pulse survey who value continuously learning new skills, why not ask about training and development opportunities?

  • Can you walk me through a typical day or week in this role?
  • What are the short-term and long-term goals for this position?  
  • How does success in this role contribute to the overall objectives of the team or department?
  • What resources or support will be available to help me excel in this role?
  • Can you provide examples of how this role has evolved within the company? 

Questions about the team:

Digging into the team dynamics can provide valuable insights into the working environment, collaboration opportunities, and overall team culture. Understanding the strengths, challenges, and communication styles within the team can help you determine if you'll thrive in this collaborative setting and contribute effectively to collective goals.

  • How would you describe the dynamic and collaboration within the team?
  • What are the team's greatest strengths, and where do you see opportunities for growth? 
  • How does the team celebrate successes and support each other during challenges?
  • Can you tell me about a recent project the team worked on and the role this position played in its success?
  • What opportunities exist for cross-functional collaboration within the team?

Questions for your potential boss:

Asking questions directed towards your potential boss offers an opportunity to gain clarity on their leadership style, expectations, and vision for the role. By understanding their management approach, feedback mechanisms, and support for professional development, you can assess if their leadership aligns with your working preferences and career aspirations.

  • What do you enjoy most about leading this team? 
  • How would you describe your leadership style and communication approach? 
  • What are your expectations for this role within the first 30, 60, and 90 days? 
  • How do you provide feedback and support professional development for your team members? 
  • What do you envision as the biggest challenge for the person stepping into this role? 

Questions about the company:  

Exploring questions about the company provides valuable insights into its mission, values, market position, and growth trajectory. By understanding the company's strategic objectives, competitive landscape, and future prospects, you can assess its alignment with your values, long-term goals, and potential for professional advancement.  

Remember to tailor your questions to the organisation to ensure they’re relevant. For example, the questions you ask a non-profit will be different to a multinational corporation. 

  • Could you elaborate on how the work in this department aligns with the company vision and contributes to achieving those broader goals? 
  • What sets this company apart from its competitors in the industry?  
  • How does the company foster innovation and adapt to industry changes? 
  • What opportunities exist for growth and expansion within the company? 
  • How does the company prioritise corporate social responsibility and community involvement? 

Questions about the company culture:  

Our latest Page Pulse survey reveals that almost half (49%) of workers are doing more than expected without getting any recognition, like a bonus or extra time off (51%). Asking the right questions, professionally and mindfully, can shed light on important deciding factors such as a company’s approach to reward and recognition.  

Inquiring about the company culture allows you to assess its values, diversity initiatives, employee support programmes, and overall work environment. Understanding how the company fosters inclusivity, innovation, and work-life balance can help you determine if it's a cultural fit and conducive to your well-being and career satisfaction. 

  • How would you describe the company culture in three words?  
  • Can you provide examples of how the company values are reflected in day-to-day operations?  
  • How does the company promote diversity and inclusion within the workplace? 
  • What initiatives are in place to support employee well-being and work-life balance? 
  • Can you share a recent success story that exemplifies the company's culture and values in action? 

By focusing on your goals and selecting questions that align with your priorities, you can assess whether the opportunity is the right fit for you while reinforcing your candidacy as the best person for the job. So, seize this moment to leave a lasting impression and pave the way for a successful career journey. 

What’s next? 

Dive into more expert job interview tips from Michael Page

Remember, while you should certainly hope for the best in your current interviews, it's prudent to prepare for the worst by keeping your job search active. By doing so, you remain proactive, adaptable, and open to a wider range of possibilities, ultimately increasing your chances of finding the right opportunity for your career growth and fulfilment.  

Take the leg work out, submit your CV and become discoverable for all our roles at Michael Page. 

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