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Questions to ask in a graduate job interview

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Towards the end of an interview, you will usually be asked if you have any questions. Be sure to say YES! You should always ask questions at the end of an interview! In this article, we discuss why it's important and what sort of things to ask.

Why is it important?

Rounding off the interview with a few intelligent questions makes sure the employer knows you are enthusiastic and seriously interested in the job. It also gives you a final opportunity to display your knowledge and other relevant qualities. And remember, an interview is a two-way process - it’s your chance to find out stuff that may be more difficult to gauge from a company website or social channels. What do you want to know about the role, potential career progression, the people you’d be working with and the company values? All this will help you judge whether the position is right for you.

So, when you’re preparing for an interview, think of about five pertinent questions. Then, even if a couple are covered during your earlier discussion, you will still have some good things to ask.

Great questions to ask at interviews

The best questions will not only elicit useful information but will also create a positive impression of you as a candidate.

The job

Find out as much as you can about the role to see if it would suit you. You could also ask if you could talk to someone currently doing a similar job.

  • What does a typical day look like?
  • What sort of projects might I be working on?
  • What responsibilities would I have?
  • What would you say are the biggest challenges of this job?
  • What skills, attributes and experience are you looking for in an ideal candidate?
  • What do you hope a person in this position will achieve in their first year?

Training and development

Enquiring about training and career progression shows you are ambitious and committed to a future with the company. And it will help you judge how this particular job might move you towards achieving your ultimate career plans.

  • Could you tell me about the training opportunities in this role?
  • Are there opportunities to gain professional qualifications (e.g. certifications, if relevant)?
  • What does a typical career path look like?
  • What goals or metrics are used to evaluate the performance of someone doing this job?

The team

Gain an insight into the team dynamic and how the organisation is structured.

  • Can you tell me more about the team I would be working in?
  • Whom would I report to?
  • Who, or which departments would I work with most closely?

The company

Here’s a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the business and awareness of industry issues. For example, enquire about the impact of the pandemic/Brexit/war in Ukraine or global trends such as climate change, whatever is relevant to your industry. Show you understand how the industry has been impacted, and then ask how the company has been affected and adapted, and whether the specific role has changed much e.g. remote working.

  • Where do you see the company in the next five years?
  • What do you think are the most exciting aspects of the company’s future?
  • What are the current goals for the company?
  • What are the main challenges facing the industry?
  • How has the pandemic impacted your business?

Find out more about an aspect of the business that interests you.

  • I have read about ‘company project’/’campaign’. Can you tell me more about it?

The culture

Try to get an insight into the company values and workplace culture, because It’s important to feel that you would fit in and be happy there.

  • What is the company culture like? What sort of people thrive here, and what types fit in less well?
  • How would you describe the managerial style? (Find out if it Is hierarchical and corporate, or more collaborative and laid back).
  • How do you create a positive working environment for employees?

Diversity, equality, inclusion

If this is important to you, make sure you ask inclusivity-focused questions. You would hope that the interviewer will be able to answer with passion and a sense of pride.

  • How do you ensure there is equality, fairness, and inclusion in the workplace?
  • What are you most proud of with regards to the company’s achievements in diversity, equality, and inclusion? (Comment and ask about any positive examples you have seen on their social channels or website e.g. diversity initiatives, awards they have won, quotations in the media, specific training etc.)

The interviewer

These questions can help to build rapport with the interviewer, as well as giving you an insight into the culture, career progression etc.

  • What do you, personally, most enjoy about working here?
  • What has your career with the company been like?
  • Has the company changed much since you joined?

Next steps

If not already covered, you can finish with questions about the next steps and when you can expect to hear back. Don’t forget to reaffirm your interest in the job!

  • What are the next steps in the selection process?
  • Is there anything else I can provide you with that might be helpful?
  • And finally, a question that often raises a smile: What would be your reservations about hiring me? Maybe they’ll have none(!) but it’s your final chance to address any issues and convince them that you’re the ideal candidate!

Visit HelloGrads for plenty more tips on nailing interviews, from what to prepare and creating a strong first impression, to how to handle those unexpected, awkward questions. Good Luck!