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10 questions to ask your interviewer for a graduate role (or any role)

Interviews aren’t just about answering questions – they’re an opportunity to find out what you need to know.

THE KEY TO a successful interview is not just how you answer questions, it’s how you ask them.

While you can prepare well for the usual interview questions or even the more obscure ones, the mark of a strong interviewee is their ability to take control and challenge the interviewer. After all, an interview isn’t just to determine if you’re the right fit for a job, it’s also to determine if the job is the right fit for you.

Aside from that, having informed, intelligent questions shows you’re serious about the role and engaged in the process.

Here are 10 questions to ask your interviewer:

1. Why are you hiring for this role?

It’s good to know if this is a new or replacement position. If it’s a new role it can be an indication that the company is expanding, it can also be an indication that there is not a massive amount of structure around the role. If it’s a replacement role, why did the previous employee leave? This will help you determine whether or not there are internal promotion opportunities and even foresee any potential pitfalls.

2. What does a typical day look like in this position?

This question is a great way to get an idea of what you’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis, beyond the generic job spec. It will offer insight into the makeup of your team, who you communicate with the most and how work is assigned and prioritised.

3. What are the main responsibilities attached to this role?

Basic but important, you want to know exactly what remit this position holds and again you’re looking for details outside the job description.

4. What training is offered and what does it entail?

If you are offered the role you want to know what kind of training is provided. Will it be on the job training or is a more in-depth education on the company required?

5. What’s the culture like?

Being a cultural fit in a company is becoming increasingly important as companies look to build out cohesive teams committed to the mission of the organisation. It’s not about hiring people who think the same, it’s about hiring people who can collaborate effectively and understand the lifeblood of the business before they even begin work. Asking your interviewer about the culture shows that you’re serious about integrating with the team and ethos and are also selective about the type of workplace you want to be part of.

6. What does success in this role look like?

The best way to figure out if you’ll be successful in this role is to ask what success is in this role. How does the company define and measure success? Will there be performance reviews? How often? You need to determine if the company’s definition of success aligns with your own.

7. What challenges will I face in this role?

The strongest candidates will look to identify and improve upon problem areas instantly. Asking this question will show the interviewer you’re prepared for challenges and already looking for ways to overcome them.

8. What is the management structure like and where would I sit within it?

Getting to grips with the hierarchy of a company can be the most challenging part of starting a new job. To avoid any awkwardness going in, ask who will be your direct supervisor or manager and who (if anyone) has authority above them. It’s important to have clarity surrounding the power structure.

9. How do you see this role evolving?

This question is not just a good indicator of the promotional prospects within your role but it also shows your ambition. Companies want proactive employees, show them that’s what you are!

10. How do I compare to other candidates you’ve interviewed for this position?

This question might feel a little awkward but it’s an excellent opportunity to see where you stand and to address any hesitations or concerns your interviewer might have.

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About the author:

Aoife Geary

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