Top 10 questions for interview
Here are some suggestions for effective questions to ask at the end of your job interview. Photograph: Aaron Tilley for the Guardian
Although job interviews often feel like an interrogation, they're meant to be a conversation between you and a potential employer. Asking plenty of questions during a job interview can not only help you build a dialogue, but it can also help you evaluate if the job is right for you.
Before you pick and choose from the following top 10, be sure to consider the culture of the organisation and the interviewer doing the selecting. Adopt the right tone and convey a positive attitude – you want to ensure this opportunity works for you, not against you.
• What are the most enjoyable and the least enjoyable aspects of the role?
This can show that you like to know what sort of challenge you are going to face and that you like to get properly prepared for it, all in the expectation of being able to rise to it.
• You mentioned there will be a lot of presenting/researching/liaising; what do your most successful people find satisfying about this part of the role?
This question can serve two purpose; it demonstrates your listening skills and associates you with being successful in the role and finding it satisfying.
• What types of training opportunities do you offer?
This is a classic question – it highlights that you're keen to advance your skills and add further value to the organisation.
• Is there scope for promotion in the future?
This is another classic question. In a similar vein, it emphasises a determination to make progress and over the long term.
• Can you tell me how the role relates to the overall structure of the organisation?
With this question you're drawing attention to a preference for teamwork. It looks as though you want to know where you would fit in and how your contribution would affect the rest of the company.
• How would you describe the work culture here?
This signals that you want to operate at your optimum and understand that for this you require a positive environment. This indicates you're a good self-manager who is aware of how to get the best out of yourself.
• In what way is performance measured and reviewed?
This question flags up that you appreciate the importance of delivering real results. You will be seen as someone who understands the value of commitment, reliability and returns.
• What are the most important issues that you think your organisation will face? or • You have recently introduced a new product/service/division/project; how will this benefit the organisation?
These variations both show that you are interested in the job and employer behind it too. It will be apparent you have done some research, done some thinking, and are now eager to hear their analysis.
• May I tell you a little more about my particular interest in communicating with clients/developing new ideas/implementing better systems?
This is a cheeky and obvious way of getting permission to blow your own trumpet but then that's what this interview is all about.
• Do you have any doubts about whether I am suited to this position?
This is a rather more brazen way of emphasising some of your strengths. It suggests you are open to constructive criticism and willing to learn from the experience of others. It also gives you a real chance to address any weaknesses the interviewee may think you have. Finally, it allows you to finish on a high, re-stating why you think you are the right person.
Other helpful resources
• Three excellent cover letter examples
• Job interview preparation: an essential checklist
• Top 10 job hunting mistakes to avoid