Emily Conaghan | The A to Z of Questions to Ask in an Interview

The A to Z of Questions to Ask in an Interview

So you’ve secured an interview. Great! So what happens now? There are five simple steps to remember. Make sure you’re on time! Don’t forget to do your research! Review the Position Description! Research the team! AND… Make sure you ask questions! 

In the candidate short market that we’re currently experiencing, there’s no doubt that this has impacted the way interviews are conducted. Interviews have well and truly become a two-way conversation where companies can check out your skills and experience, and at the same time your potential new company is on display and reciprocal questions are a given.

Asking questions has never been more critical! With more and more interviews being conducted online, there may be circumstances where asking the right questions might be your only way to get a true insight into the ins and outs of what it’s really like to work at your potential new job.

So, where do you start? What questions should you be asking? Well, this might be the place to start!

Here’s an A to Z of questions to ask in an interview:

A – ACHIEVEMENT: What’s been the biggest/ best achievement for the business over the past twelve months?

B – BENEFITS: Which benefits do your team utilise the most?

C – CELEBRATE: How does your team celebrate success?

D – DECISION-MAKING: What would be the process of approval if I were to bring a new initiative or idea to the table?

E – EXPECTATIONS: What do you expect success to look like in this role over the next 12 months?

F – FLEXIBILITY: What is your policy on flexible working arrangements?

G – GROWTH: What are the plans for company growth over the next 12 months?

H – HANDOVER: Will there be an opportunity for handover with my predecessor? Has there been an opportunity for my predecessor to collate handover notes?

I – INCLUSIVITY: Do you have a diversity and inclusion policy or any initiatives to help build a culture of inclusivity?

J – JOURNEY: What has been the journey of the company to get to where it is today?

K – KPIs: How do you measure and manage Key Performance Indicators?

L – LEADERSHIP: How would you describe the leadership philosophy of the executive/leadership team?

M – MENTAL HEALTH: How do you look after your team during difficult times and how do you generally make sure your team is keeping a healthy work/life balance?

N – NEW PARENTS: What’s it like to be a new parent at this company and do you have a policy around parental leave?

O – OVERTIME: What is your expectation around overtime? Is it something that occurs often and is there compensation for regular and consistent occurrences of overtime?

P – PANDEMIC: What was the business’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Q – QUIET TIME: Is there a quiet period where things are less busy during the year? What happens during this period?

R – REMUNERATION: What is your remuneration review process?

S – SOCIAL: What opportunities are available for socialisation?

T – TECHNOLOGY: What technologies could I expect to be using on a daily basis?

U – UNIQUE: What makes this company unique from others? What is the Unique Selling Proposition for this role?

V – VALUES: Can you tell me about the company values and how these manifest in the workplace?

W – WORKING FROM HOME: What is your work from home policy?

X – X-FACTOR: What qualities in a candidate will give them the X-factor?

Y – YEAR IN REVIEW: How does the company review the successes and challenges of the year?

Z – ZOO: Who’s who in the zoo? (Or, to rephrase, how is the team structured?)

You can’t ask that!

While it’s great (and encouraged!) to ask questions, there are some questions that can get you in a bit of hot water. To make sure you’re putting your best foot forward, avoid bringing up these topics in the first interview:

Salary…

While salary is important, it can be a challenging topic to discuss in an interview. You may not be aware of the dynamic of the people in the room and whether they have visibility over salary budgets for the role. It’s best to leave these conversations to a one-on-one conversation or phone call with the hiring manager or better yet – let your recruiter handle these negotiations for you!

Things you could have researched…

Asking the important (yet obvious) questions is important, but when they are certain things you could have researched yourself, you might find yourself presenting as underprepared or disengaged. For example, if the information is not online, asking the question “where is the office located?” would be a great question. But, if you can Google it – don’t ask it. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your initiative.

The caveat here is if you need clarification. For example, “I can see you have offices at Eight Mile Plains and in the City and my understanding is that I would be based in the city. Would there ever be instances where I would need to attend the Eight Mile Plains office?”

Promotion…

“So, when will I be able to be promoted?”

It’s great to be thinking ahead but this can be a point of irritation for companies. It’s akin to being on a first date with someone and asking “when will we get engaged?” There is an element of “slow down, let’s just get to know each other first.”

More often than not, when a company is heading out to market to hire a new team member, they’re looking to fill a skill gap within an existing team. From a workforce planning perspective, it’s likely that the particular skill set or expertise in the team will be needed long term. It’s not to say that promotion can’t happen for you within your first twelve months, but if you’re needing the promise of promotion to sell the role for you, it might not be the right role for you.

Enjoyed reading this article? Found it insightful and witty? That’s because it was written by our very own Emily Conaghan who can be best described as ‘insightful’ and ‘witty’. Emily has over 5 years of experience in HR and Talent Acquisition specialising in Technology & Product. You can read Emily’s Q&A here.

Reach out to Emily if you are looking for your next career move or feeling a little uncertain about the interview process – 0403 726 487 / emily@huntandco.io.

Career Advice, Industry & Career Insights

Leave a Reply