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How to impress with your questions during an interview

As redundancies become more common, the jobs market is becoming increasingly competitive. Kay Fleming, Consultant at Morgan McKinley, highlights how to stand out in interviews.

July 2020

Interviews are often considered to be one sided; a situation where you will be the only one being asked the questions. However, it is really important that you come out of an interview fully informed about the role and company. Therefore, you also need to prepare questions to interview them too which is of more importance given that most interviews are done remotely now.

Asking considered or stimulating questions to the interviewer can demonstrate that you really have done your homework on the company and can help you stand out among other applicants in a competitive market. Furthermore, asking questions is an opportunity for you to gather as much information as possible to ensure it is the right move for you.

Personally, I would recommend preparing five questions to ask the interviewer. This may seem like a lot but some may be answered during the course of the interview and therefore, it is best to be prepared. 

Here are some questions you could ask:

What do you envisage being the quickest achievements and greatest challenges in the role?

In my experience, jobseekers often ask what the good things are about the job but can be afraid to ask the difficult questions. People are so keen for a new challenge that they would prefer not to know or they are set on wanting the interview to feel entirely positive. However, you do not want any surprises when you join a firm so it is important to understand what the challenges might be so you can weigh up the pros and cons of the opportunity should you be offered the job.

How would your colleagues describe your management style?

It is important that you gauge as much as possible what it might be like to work under this person’s leadership. Asking what their peers think is key. A manager can make or break a job, the wrong management style is demotivating so this is a crucial question.

What are your most successful team members doing differently in the team?

This type of question suggests you want to be a high performer and you want to hear what it takes to be a success there. This shows that you would be willing to go above and beyond in the job and want to work at a high level which is music to a hiring manager’s ears.

How is the relationship with other internal stakeholders and/or departments that I will be working with?

One of the frustrations I hear most from jobseekers is that they feel that the team they work in at their current firm is undervalued. If there are tensions between departments in the business it is good to know in advance what to expect but also you might feel that you have had success in strengthening inter-team relationships in the past so can offer something to the business.

“I read XX about the company, can you tell me more about this and how it might affect my role?”

Demonstrating you have done your research on the company and then asking a question off the back of it indicates that you prepared for the interview which signifies your interest and attention to detail.

Essentially, I would always recommend you asking questions that are relevant to you and are going to help you conclude if you want the job or not. Spend some time thinking about what is going to be important to you in your next role and ultimately what is going to make you happy and try and get this clarified with the company.

Kay Fleming is a Consultant at Morgan McKinley. 

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