Many people walk into interviews willing to answer any questions thrown their way. They’ve been practising for days and, well, they’ve done this before. They know everything about the company, why they want to work there, where they see themselves in five years and know how to list their weaknesses as strengths. And that’s great. Everyone should walk into an interview knowing they have their answers prepared.


But people often make the mistake of not asking any questions themselves. An interview is not only an opportunity for a potential employer to see whether you’ll fit into their company, but also an opportunity for you to decide whether you could see yourself working there. That’s why you need to ask questions. And nobody is going to think you’re presumptuous for asking your own questions. Instead, they’ll likely see it as you being interested in the job and what it entails. In fact, many interviewers ask if you have any questions before wrapping up the meeting.


So, if you’re struggling to think of questions to ask in a job interview, then here are some of the most popular ones.


Is there opportunity for growth?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask. If you’re hoping to grow your career at that specific company, you want to make sure there is the opportunity to do so. You don’t want to get the job and start, only to find out later that there’s no chance of being promoted or moving up the ranks. That would be a waste of your time and theirs. If you just want a job, any job, to cover the bills and keep you financially stable, then this question isn’t important. You don’t want to give them the impression that you’re interested in growing with the business when you really aren’t looking for that. But if you’re mapping out your career and setting your goals now, then go ahead and ask them about the opportunity for growth within the company.

This question will also impress the interviewer as they most likely want someone who is driven and wants to invest in the business. And if you’re planning to be there for the long-term, that means you’ll always be going above and beyond to do the best job possible. Most hiring managers want to employ people who are motivated and actively seeking a challenge.


Would you be working in a team or on your own?

This is important information to know before you accept a job offer or not. Because if you prefer to work on your own and don’t work well with others, you’re not going to appreciate being part of a team that’s required to work together at all times. And if you love being part of your team and do your best work when you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself, then you won’t want a job that entails working in isolation all the time.


When are they hoping for the successful candidate to start?

You should be careful how you word this question. Try to avoid sounding like you feel you’ve already got the job. Don’t say, “So, when do I start?” That sounds cocky and while some may appreciate that, others really won’t. It’s better to ask when the successful candidate would be required to start. This means that if they’re desperately looking for someone to hire in the next week and you have to give a month’s notice, there’s no point in you getting your hopes up. And if you’re ready to start right away but the process is going to take at least three months, at least you know to prepare yourself for a long wait.  


Can they give you any more information on the job that wasn’t in the ad?

Most job ads don’t go into great detail. And, if they do, they don’t tell you about the small stuff. The little extras you’ll be expected to do as part of your daily job. Depending on their answer, you may be able to say, “Oh, I’d love to do that!” You’ll also have more insight into what your everyday life would be like at the company.


Is overtime expected?

This is something you need to know if you have after-work responsibilities, like a commitment to a charity organisation or a family that requires your attention. You don’t want to land a job that means you’ll only get home at 8pm every night when you want to tuck your children into bed at 7pm. On the other hand, you may be one of those people who has no problem working overtime and is excited to be part of a deadline-driven industry. Who knows, you may even find out they pay for overtime (which is always a bonus).

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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