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How are you feeling?

The questions you have to ask at interview


It’s not a very popular part of the interview process, but it’s a recurring problem none the less. Two words, thirteen letters, cue panic:

“Any questions?”

Interviews are like a dance that need practising until you’re not a single step out. Because of this, tropes of the trade have become so prevalent to the point where interviewers are needing to become more creative. Gone are the days where everyone’s weakness was their perfectionism. We now have role plays, trust exercises, group debates, the full works. However, no one ever created the stock questions an interviewee needs to ask. That part still exists in the modern interview world and it’s always been a sore spot. Every trade will bring different concerns from prospective employees, but there are certain things about the working world in general that every candidate will have to consider.

“Why did this position become available?”

Curiosity about the job doesn’t show suspicion or a lack of trust. If anything it demonstrates that you have a real interest. Wanting to know the detail behind the opening shows the employer you’re intrigued about the operation of the workplace, but also helps you in figuring out if you’d feel comfortable to work here.

“What are the options for career progression?”

Career is the key word in this question. It shows investment and a long term plan. You are aiming to work in this sector, it’s not a means to an end. The answer would help you find out what kind of criteria the employer uses to decide on who gets promoted and to where. Last but not least, ambition shows you want to work hard. Hard workers are wanted everywhere, of course.

“How would you describe the culture of your company?”

Probing the interviewer gives you a bit more weight in the power balance here. It’s good to realise that you don’t just need a job, but they need an employee. They are dependent too. Delving more into the ins and outs of a workplace’s policies and work environment is a good way to put pressure on the interviewer and add some value to you as a worker. It will help you figure out what kind of a worker they are looking for and what qualities they possess. They need to fit with you, and if they give too vague an answer, you have some ammunition.

“What are the company’s goals for the next month/year etc.?”

If you’re interested in what the company wants, they will more likely be in favour of you, because you have designs on adhering to their plans and making a contribution. In any workplace, the quality of being a team player is always desirable[Why empathy is a top business skill]. This question also invites a follow up on obstacles the company might face in achieving their goals. This helps in further challenging the interviewer and making sure you keep some leverage.

“How soon would you prefer the successful candidate to start?”

Above all, it’s a considerate and sensible thing to ask. You will need to know when to start and make plans for it if successful.[3 reasons why you should set career goals today] It could possibly open up discussion about any arrangements you’d need to make and time you’d need for that, which is a very positive sign. This makes the question assertive, because it shows optimism that you will be successful and will drop hints to you about how well you performed. If you are looking for a new job then check out our eBook that guides you through the steps to help you to land the perfect job for you.


This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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