Four things to take to a job interview

Four things to take to a job interview

26 Jan 09:00 by James Walton


When most people think about job interviews, they focus on the questions they are likely to be asked and how should they answer them to make the best impression. Most employers will have a set of standard questions which they will ask each prospective new employee.

While it is true that how you answer those questions will affect whether or not you are successful in your interview; if you want to set yourself apart from the crowd then it is the questions you ask, rather than answer, that matter.

A job interview is an excellent chance for you to find out more about the role you have applied for as knowing that the job is right for you before you accept the position. This can save you vital time and effort. 

Finding out a month into your new job that the hours aren’t suitable, or the role isn’t what you were expecting wastes everyone's time, and you are then left back at square one looking for the right job for you.

Asking questions in your job interview is a great chance to make you more memorable and stand out in the interviewer’s mind, allows you to garner more information about the role and also lets your potential employer know more about you and your personality and goals. So what type of questions should you ask and are there any questions you should avoid asking?

Questions to avoid

Finding out more about the role

It is essential that you use your interview as an opportunity to find out more about the job you are applying for.

Job adverts can often be short and to the point, whether posted by an events recruitment agency or the employer and sometimes only include the basic information about the role so during your interview you can ask your potential employer more detailed questions.

If you’re working with a recruitment agency they should be able to give you full details, but when applying directly you should always clarify the hours and times you will be expected to work, especially if you have other commitments such as another job or children to work around. You should also use this opportunity to ask what the salary bracket is...

You may also want to use this opportunity to inquire more about the company themselves; what their culture is, the structure and what their policies are regarding internal promotions.

Not only will this give you important information about the people you are likely to be working for, but it also shows they, interviewer, that you are interested in more than just a pay slip and have aspirations for your career.

However, you should do extensive research on the company before you attend your interview and avoid asking basic questions such as where the offices are or how long they have been trading. 

Asking questions which could be answered with a quick internet search doesn’t set a good impression as it shows you have not spared the time to find out anything about the company.

Making a positive impression

The questions you ask in your interview will say a lot about who you are, and they will give the interviewer a good idea about you, your personality and your suitability for the role. You should ask positive questions in your interview in order to stand out from the crowd and show that you are ready and enthusiastic about the opportunity to join the company. Though avoid talking too much

Positive questions you can ask include questions about possible extra hours, the potential for taking on extra responsibilities and whether the role you are applying for present any opportunities for career advancement.

You may also want to inquire whether the company offers any internal or external training and qualification schemes. These types of questions give the impression that you are responsible, hard working and thinking seriously about your future.

Employers don’t want to give jobs to people they don’t feel are serious about the company or those who give the impression that this role is just temporary until something else comes along. 

By showing that you are thinking about your future with the company, you are showing that you are going to be committed to your new role.

Questions to avoid

Asking questions shows enthusiasm, but there are some questions which will give completely the wrong impression. Asking about holidays, for example, at your job interview does not make it sound like you are going to be working your hardest; it makes it sound like your priorities are set around the time you won’t have to spend working.

Also avoid asking about breaks, incentives and other employees at your interview, this can all be confirmed if you are offered the role or at an induction one you begin. 

As previously mentioned, try not to ask the obvious questions which could be answered by Google as this just shows you haven’t prepared well for the interview.

Remember, the interview is not just about the employer finding out about you, but it is also a chance for you to find out more about your potential employer. At your next job interview, be confident about asking questions to find out if this is the best job opportunity for you.