It is important for you to be well prepared for the interview. You should gather a lot of information about the company in advance and think up suitable questions. For example, questions like these:
Question 1: Will the position be newly created or refilled?
With this typical question in the interview you signal interest in the advertised position and the strategic orientation of the company. You can also use it to obtain information about how your future position within the company is to be classified: Is it a regular replacement? Or is the position being created from scratch? This may indicate that the subject area in which you will be working is fairly new to the company.
What this means for you is for you to decide: Maybe you enjoy the opportunity to break new ground and innovate – with a lot of freedom; or maybe you find it not particularly attractive to start in a company that has no know-how and little experience in your field.
Question 2: Is my predecessor still working in the company?
At first glance, this question may seem a bit indiscreet, but it can give you important information. Experience has shown that the reaction of the HR staff or your counterpart in the interview to this question usually shows quite clearly whether the company has separated from your predecessor for good or bad. Of course, this does not reveal much, because you do not know the person or the background. But from the way an employee is spoken about, many conclusions can be drawn.
If the person you are talking to says something blasphemous about the ex-employee, it speaks volumes about the tone and manners that are cultivated in the company.
On the other hand, it is perhaps decisive for you whether your predecessor will continue to work in your department or whether he might work in a higher position in the company. And by asking this question, you are showing your interviewer that you are really interested in the advertised position.
Question 3: Who will be my direct superior?
This question also shows your interviewer that you really want to know what the job would look like in detail. Maybe you have just met your direct superior during the interview anyway; then this question is of course unnecessary. Otherwise, this question will give you more information about your potential new boss that might be of interest to you, such as whether he is a woman or a man, or how much experience he has in the industry.
Question 4: How many people are on the team where the position is vacant?
This question is THE insider tip par excellence if you simply cannot think of any other halfway intelligent question. You won’t go wrong with this question, because it is relatively harmless; and it also shows your real interest in the day-to-day work in the advertised position.
Last but not least, as a candidate you may also find it important to know whether you will later be a lonely lone wolf on a wide corridor or just one of many in a large team.
Question 5: Is it possible to see the workplace and get to know the team?
You are a team player and want to know which colleagues you will ideally be dealing with? Then show this by asking this question. In any case, it is permissible to ask for a detailed insight into the company. In many cases you will get this chance anyway when you are invited to the second round. If you ask for it, it shows that you are a collegial person and that it is important to you who you work with.
Similarly, the question “What would a typical working day look like with them?”, which of course you can also ask. It also shows that you are interested in the details of what the new job could look like for you. The answer may provide you with further helpful information that will make it easier for you to decide for or against a job later on.
Question 6: How does the induction process work?
Asking this question indicates that you are already thinking about starting here at the company. It is concrete and shows that you know what you want: because you are looking for information about what your start at work might look like exactly. Unfortunately, the lack of familiarisation is a common problem with new hires; with your demand, you might discreetly draw the attention of your potential new employer to the fact that a familiarisation phase should be well planned.
Question 7: What is the approximate age structure in the company?
Granted: This question is a bit tricky. Maybe you’ll say at first that you don’t care: You get on well with colleagues of all ages. But the age composition of a workforce or even just a team can say a lot more. For example, if a company only has employees under 30 years of age, this makes it clear that nobody here wants to or is allowed to grow old.
By asking this question, you show your interviewer that you are definitely interested in long-term employment. Because you are trying to find out whether you could fit into the workforce in the long term and find a permanent position there.
Question 8: What about the possibility of further training?
This is one of the most important questions from your side in the job interview. After all, in the end, it’s not only the candidate who applies for the job, but also the company wants to appear attractive to the ideal applicant. The topic of further training is one area in which companies can collect plus points from candidates here. And it is important for you to know how a company deals with further training for employees.
This question shows your interviewer that you are interested in thinking outside the box and in further training. This is positive in any case.
Question 9: I took a closer look at your company and product XY. I have one more question …
The candidate who asks such a concrete question can score a big plus for himself: Because he shows quite clearly that he has prepared himself well. You may be able to prove that you have gone deeper into the subject matter than other candidates. Of course, this assumes that you have really looked into the company in detail beforehand and that you have found a concrete, interesting question.
Question 10: How does your company differ from the competitors on the market?
With this question, you simply turn the tables: You’ve been asked enough holes in your stomach, now the employer should add a little butter to the fish. This will show that you are interested in the company and its market position, and you will certainly be able to elicit some exciting details about the company’s orientation from the one or other HR or specialist colleague.
But watch out: This question may come back to haunt you like a boomerang. Namely, exactly when your counterpart expects you to know the answer yourself. This can be the case especially when you apply to very large, well-known companies.
If you ask, you have many opportunities: the chance to lead the conversation; the opportunity to present yourself intelligently. In addition, he can show that he has prepared himself for the appointment. Perhaps a little of one’s own personality can also be portrayed, for example, through specially weighted questions about the team or the cohesion of colleagues. One thing is clear: always take the opportunity to ask your interviewer questions at the end of the interview. Because if you don’t ask, you’ll remain stupid.