Questions to Ask at Job Interviews That Might Make You Stand Out

As I’ve mentioned before, my journey to find a job has been a long, demoralising one. But towards the end of the search, I feel that my approach changed slightly, and that as I gained more experience and started saying the right things, I had more success. I’d really like to share these with you, and hope that they will come in handy when you’re at your fifth interview of the month and can’t think of any more questions to ask the company you’re visiting.

  • If I were to be successful, what are the things you would like me to do to prepare for the role?

I liked asking this question because it showed I was willing to give as well as take. People like to hear what you can do for them. It also shows forward planning and enthusiasm. A word of caution though, maybe save this one for a time when you’re quite far though the recruitment process. Your potential employers might find you a little arrogant if you ask this the first time you meet them!

  • Would there be any opportunity for me to get involved in outreach if I worked here?

I think this question shows that you would be loyal to the company, and that it’s not just the salary you care about. If you show you’re prepared to go the extra mile, and for free, at that, you’re bound to stand out!

  • How much flexibility is there to move around the company?

This one is to be played be ear, I didn’t ask this at every company I visited. However, it may be a good one if you’re applying for quite a specific job within a larger department. It shows that you have drive and ambition, and that you’re not afraid to try new things if that is what is required of you.

  • How would my progress be measured? Is there a formal review process?

This one shows that you’re on the ball; not only are you thinking about successfully bagging the position, you’re thinking about how you can archive your potential once you’ve started working. It also demonstrates a level of responsibility, you’ve acknowledged that your performance reflects on the company, so constantly bettering yourself and asking how you can improve will ultimately make them look good.

  • Ask them about a particular product of theirs that interests you.

This one’s a no brainer really. If you really want to stand out, show that you have a good knowledge of the company and their products. This may have been overkill, but before I visited any engineering firm for an interview, I always memorised their history, departments and a few of their products. But careful not to regurgitate facts though, try to slip them into conversation naturally!

  • Ask if you can get hold of the company ethics code.

Again, this shows that you care about more than just the pay. Showing that you’re taking the time to figure out whether you’d fit in can really earn you points. Some large companies care about this so much that as part of the recruitment process, you’re given a personality test to see whether you would fit in to their working environment.

  • What is the workplace atmosphere like?

This is more for your own peace of mind. I’ve heard so many stories about people finding their ‘ideal company and role’, only to find that they can’t stand the atmosphere in the office, or hate the people they work with.

  • Any specific questions about a particular technique they use. Apologies, I know this is incredibly generic, but it’ll depend on the sector you’re going into. For example, when being shown round the factory of an engineering firm, I asked questions such as:
  1. What are the advantages of this manufacturing machine over [insert name of different machine]?
  2. What machining process is used to make [insert name of component]?
  3. How do you decide which machines to install in the factory/how do you find out about new ones?
  4. Why was this component designed in the way it was? (If you see something that catches your eye).

Good luck with the job search, thanks for reading! 


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