You’ve made it to the interview and have thoroughly researched all of the questions the employer could possibly ask. You go in feeling confident and prepared, and start to deliver your rehearsed answers.
You sense something is off; the interviewer isn’t as engaged as you’d hoped, but you carry on with your memorised script. Then, as the interview draws to a close, they ask you the one question you forgot about: “Do you have any questions for me?”
Sound familiar? You’re not alone! Jobseekers will nearly always focus on preparing answers, rather than preparing questions, and the questions they do practice are often formulaic and tend to dumb down the authentic self. Well-formed questions are far more powerful than any answer you might come up with.
Recruiters’ favourite questions
In order to wow the interviewer you simply need a set of ‘Nail Questions’. ‘Nail Questions’ demonstrate, illustrate and broadcast your attitude in a way answers simply cannot. Here are a few of recruiters’ favourites:
- Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare?
- This is a quick way to figure out whether your skills line up with what the company is looking for – if they don’t match, maybe this isn’t the position for you.
- What do you like most about working for this company?
- This question gives you the chance to get insider knowledge on the best bits about the organisation, and helps to create a sense of camaraderie with the employer.
- Where do you see the company heading in the next 5 years?
- Asking this question shows that you can think of the bigger picture and that you want to stay with the company long-term, which is reassuring for the employer.
How to structure the questions
While the content and intent of the questions will vary, all are structured in the same way. Always open with a clear explanation as to why you need the information: “My vision one day is to be head of marketing for an aspirational business like this.”
Then tell the interviewer something about yourself, a USP, or Unique Selling Point: “I love what I do and for me work is very important – I have always worked hard to identify the skills and experience gaps I have and then fill them with the best training I can find.”
Learn more on how to get more job interviews:
- 5 businesses explain how to tailor your CV
- How to get more interviews and job offers
- CV mistakes to avoid
Finally, ask the question succinctly and clearly: “If we were to project forward in time and I have done an outstanding job for you in this role, how do you feel my career could best plot a route to a head of marketing level?”
Questions framed in the right way and with the correct content drawn from your research will tell the interviewer that you understand their business and can empathise with many of the issues they need to manage day to day.
Your attitude counts
Apart from arming yourself with a stellar set of questions, you must deliver them with the right attitude.
- Be honest. If you’ve lied on your CV you WILL be caught out at the interview stage, which won’t impress your employer.
- Be positive. Talk about what you CAN do, not what you can’t.
- Be confident. Smile, try to relax – you may be nervous but you can still show confidence in your own abilities.
The interview is the open doorway through which you pass from one phase of your career to another. Never again will you interview for a job, rather from now on you will nail that interview to accelerate you along your career journey. Hold tight and enjoy the ride!