What you should know before saying yes: Top questions to ask in an interview

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“Do you have anything you’d like to ask me?” It’s a classic last question for interviewers to ask, yet surprisingly few candidates answer it effectively. Poor responses range from interviewees with nothing to say to those that respond “When do I start?”. However, with a bit of preparation, it’s the perfect opportunity to prove you’ve done your research, set yourself apart from other applicants and ensure it’s the right company for you. If you’re looking for work in London, here are five questions that you can ask to leave a lasting impression on your interviewer.

Who do you consider your main competitors and what do you think sets you apart?

This one requires a bit of extra preparation as your interviewer may turn this back on you to check you’ve done your research. Be prepared to list at least three companies you’d consider to be in direct competition with your prospective employer, as well as a quality you think puts them ahead. It could be their heritage, their culture or perhaps even your own experience as a customer with them. Just be prepared with an original answer.

For the interviewer, this is a chance for them to sell their business to you. If they’re unable to explain why they’re different and why that should make you want to work there, it’s worth asking yourself, is this the right business for you?

What opportunities are there to progress?

This question serves two purposes. Firstly, you can see how the organisation recognises achievement and ability. If staff are consistently performing it is important for them to be offered a clear career path to higher levels. Ideally interviewers will be able to offer specific examples of staff who have risen through the ranks of the business. Secondly, it shows that you have ambition to succeed in the company. Whatever level you start at, you should have goals for your time there.

Can you describe the culture of the team?

For some people a job is just that, a job. They don’t need a social life with their colleagues and want their professional life to stay in the office. For others friendships in the workplace are as important as a competitive salary. Wherever you stand, this question gives you a chance to see how well you might fit in with the team. Most people will spend over a fifth of their waking life working, so why settle for a role where you won’t be happy?

What are the immediate and long term goals for your organisation?

You want to know this business has a solid plan. This is another opportunity for your interviewer to sell the role to you. A clear vision of where the company is going should be set by those at the top of the organisation and communicated effectively right down to the bottom. While you may not see yourself staying with the business for five, ten or twenty years it’s good to know that if you do wish to stay, they aren’t going anywhere.

Do you have any concerns about my suitability for the role?

No matter how brilliant your CV is or how perfectly you tailor your covering letter, you won’t necessarily cover everything the interviewer hopes to. This is an open ended question that gives them a chance to fill in the gaps and may allow you to quash any concerns they have. They may bring up a lack of industry experience or a gap in your CV. Try and respond with an example of how you have overcome a similar challenge in the past or how you plan to do so in this instance.

Author David Morel Tiger Recruitment Team

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