Interview preparation step 4

Step 4: Prepare Questions

Having completed your background research, you are now ready to prepare questions to ask the
interviewer(s). Try to think of questions for which the answer was not readily available in company
literature. Intelligent well thought-out questions will demonstrate your genuine interest in the position. Be
careful how many questions you ask, however, as too many can imply you feel the interview was not
successfully run. Pick your questions with care – this is your chance to gather information, so ask about
what you really want to know. Avoid sounding critical by mentioning negative information you may have
discovered. This is one of the most effective ways to compare different employers, so for issues of
particular importance to you (for example, whether they support staff upgrading), you should ask the same
questions of each employer. Some sample questions are:
• What are the most significant factors affecting your business today? How have changes in technology most affected your business today?
• How has your business/industry been affected by the recession?
• How has your company grown or changed in the last couple of years?
• What future direction do you see the company taking?
• Where is the greatest demand for your services or product?
• Where is most of the pressure from increased business felt in this company?
• Which department feels it the most?
• How do you differ from your competitors?
• How much responsibility will I be given in this position?
• What do you like about working with this organization?
• Can you tell me more about the training program?
• Have any new product lines been introduced recently?
• How much travel is normally expected?
• What criteria will be used to evaluate my performance?
• Will I work independently or as part of a team?
• How did you advance to your position?
• What are the career paths available in this organization?
• When can I expect to hear from you regarding this position?
It is very important to ask the last question because employers want to hire individuals who are interested in the position – and asking this question definitely helps to demonstrate interest on your part. Exercise judgement when asking questions to an employer. When being interviewed by a large company that has a high profile, one would not ask the question
“What is the history of your company and how was your company started?” You can find the answer to this question in the company’s annual report or articles in magazines/newspapers. However, small- and medium-sized companies do not always produce publicly available annual reports and it may be difficult to access information on the company and its role in the industry. This question is appropriate if you have exercised all other ways to find out the answer.