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Interview Preparation: How to create the perfect questions

Preparing questions for interviews is one of the more difficult things to do as part of your preparation (you can find out how to prepare here). You don’t know the company that well and you are only aware of the interviewer by looking through their LinkedIn profile (or other social media). So, how are you meant to actively prepare questions for multiple stages of the interview process without asking ‘fluff’?

Here is how:

Consider the Four C’s – Connect, Culture, Challenges, Close.

Connect:

One challenge you will always face when interviewing is getting the person(s) you’re speaking with on your side. In 2021 culture is becoming such a massive part of every company. You don’t get on with the team, you won’t last very long – strange right?

This starts at the interview stage, getting to know your interviewers and becoming connected with them is a great way to be remembered when they create the shortlist for the subsequent stages. If you like going for walks – highlight it. If you like MMA – highlight it. The interviewers are most likely speaking with dozens of people for each role they interview for, so you need to be the one they like and remember.

Questions you could ask to get to know the interviewer could be:

  • What do you enjoy about working here?
  • What attracted you to this company?
  • What do you do in your downtime outside of work?

Culture:

As mentioned above, you fitting in with their culture is important but you need to make sure they fit your aspiring culture. The interview process is a two-way street and you need to make sure the company is the right fit for you. They may use your ideal tech stack (if you’re a developer) or they may have all the benefits you’re looking for – remote working, flexitime etc.

Office politics tends to be a factor that drives a lot of people out of companies – an employee doesn’t see eye-to-eye with a manager for whatever reason or they don’t agree with the direction the company is taking etc.

It can be even worse for a new member of staff as they don’t necessarily have the pulling power more established colleagues may have.

You can understand their culture by asking these questions:

  • How are key decisions made within the company?
  • What activities are done for team events?
  • How well does management interact with other employees?

Challenges:

Like the aforementioned, you need to understand if the career move is for you and this starts with the reasons why the position has come available. This will address any concerns you may have about the stability of the position – you wouldn’t like to take a role in a company where 4 people have recently left. So digging deep into the basics – who, what, why, and how is imperative.

Digging into the challenges is more than just about the role itself, you have to consider the challenges the company has had hiring for this position in the first place – this gives you an indication of what sort of person they will be looking for.

Dig deep into their challenges by asking these questions:

  • Is this a new role for the business? If so, why has it become available?
  • What are some of the issues you have faced when recruiting for this role?
  • What challenges are the team currently facing at the moment?

Close:

This is how you round up the interview. Typically  the recruiter would do this for you – that is if you go through a recruiter – but, you want to gain the understanding of the next steps.

  • Is there a technical challenge as a part of the interview process?
  • What is the next stage in the process?

Following the four C’s with all of your questioning will give you an array of information that you would want to ascertain to make sure you make the most informed decision.

Below are a few further questions you can ask following the four C’s framework.

1) What is the expected start date for this role?

2) What about my CV made you want to interview me?

3) Does this position have a high turnover in staff?

4) What kind of budget does this department have?

5) Who would you say is your main competition?

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