The questions you should (and shouldn't) ask in a job interview

January 10th 2015 / Hanna Ibraheem


Ever find yourself stumped on what to ask at the end of an interview? We spoke to a careers coach about the top 5 things that you need to be probing and what to avoid…

That final interview hurdle of your job application is arguably the trickiest part to master. You have to tell the interviewee why you’re so great without seeming overly cocky, make sure you get all of your achievements across clearly and dodge your way around a minefield of difficult and awkward questions.

Then when things are wrapping up, you hear those five words: “Do you have any questions?” This sentence can make or break you and is actually one of the most important questions you’ll be asked during any job interview. Potential employers EXPECT you to ask questions, and many have noted that failure to ask any can result in a big fat cross next to your name.

So to help you out, we spoke to Executive and Careers Coach Anna Percy-Davis for the 5 type of questions you should have up your sleeve and what you should stay clear of…


- Firstly, any questions about pay, working hours, holiday entitlement (particularly if it’s the first time you’re meeting the interviewer) need to be avoided. You need to asking questions from the perspective of how you can add value to the job - not what is in it for you.

- Don’t ask questions that you could have got answered by looking up the company on the net. Do as much research as you can about the role and the organisation beforehand so you ask informed questions.

- Finally, don't ask questions that imply that you see the role as just a stepping stone to something bigger and better. It is fine to come across as ambitious but you need to show genuine commitment to the role.


1. What is the single most important thing that you would like to see achieved by this role in the next 3/6/12 months?

This demonstrates that you’re thinking about the role from a long-term point-of-view and will also give you a detailed and clearer picture of what your potential employer will expect from you.

2. Where does the role sit within the organisation and where do you see the role adding most value?

By asking this, you’re demonstrating that you’re thinking about your position in the company of the whole and which areas you can make yourself most useful in.

3. What is the most important trait that the individual needs to have in this role? (if this hasn't come up already)

This gives you an opening to further explain why you’re most suited to the position, especially if the trait is something you haven’t discussed much during the first part of the interview.

4. Ask a question about the organisation that demonstrates you have done some research (For example, I notice that you have recently announced a commitment to recycling as an organisation - will this role have any involvement in this?)

5. Finally, putting forward a question about colleagues can be good. Discussing the size of team may well have been covered, but the split of responsibilities and how communication and team working style operates may all be good topics to query.

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