Questions to ask at interview

Questions to ask at interview

As part of our focus on making sure that candidates are as prepared as possible for their forthcoming interviews, Exchange Street Director Andy Taylor offers his tips on what questions to ask at interview; one of the most important yet unprepared elements of the process.

So you’ve explained what you will bring to the role, have flown through the “where do you see yourself in five years question” and even convinced them that your negative attributes are in fact positive ones (“I am too hardworking at times”). But then comes the killer; do you have any questions for us? Cue a mental blank. Make sure that this is not you by having a number of prepared questions ready that demonstrate your ambition, thoughtfulness and thoroughness:

What is the culture like? – Perhaps the most important aspect of finding the right job is ensuring that the environment you work within is the most suitable to your personality. For some brand and prestige is important; for others it is flexibility around childcare. Making sure you understand a firm whose ethos is as close as possible to your own is the best possible way to ensure that you are not looking for a new job in 12 months time.

What short and long-term plans does the business have? – This question demonstrates that you too have plans and are thinking about the long-term. From a selfish perspective you need to ensure that the small company you yearn to join does not have designs on increasing in size by 1000% in five years! Again this question will help you assess the culture of the leading people within the firm and the firm itself.

How will my performance be measured? – For some i.e. anyone in a sales/targeted role, this will be an obvious question. However it is worth getting as much detail as possible about any sales scheme as well as finding out whether there are any other factors that might affect your bonus e.g. compliance rating or file quality. For individuals not in a sales role it is still an important factor, particularly for those who join a company with a bonus scheme or those seeking an opportunity for promotion.

What opportunities for promotion or exam study exist? – You will only find this out anyway once in situ (and often not in the way you hoped!) so again it is worthwhile finding this out from the outset. It shows ambition, a willingness to learn and importantly, suggests that you are someone who would be willing to go the extra mile to fulfil their career ambitions.

For further advice on how to prepare for interview please contact Exchange Street on 0161 9736900 or