Questions to ask in an interview – How to star as a candidate!

At some point, almost everyone has to deal with searching for a job – be it as an entry into professional life or as a quest for new challenges. Once you have mastered the first barrier and get positive feedback on your CV, the interview rounds begin.

How it all begins?

Usually, the application process starts with a first telephone interview in which the recruiter gets a first impression of the candidate. Typically, the basic requirements such as motivation, professional experience, reasons for a job change and general questions about availability and salary expectations are asked. This short interview is your entry ticket to the company and should not be underestimated.

The highly competitive job market

Since the job market is highly competitive in this day and age and the competition is as strong as never before, it is important to be well prepared for a job interview. If you want to leave a good impression, you should not be too passive on the one hand and only answer questions. On the other hand, however, you should be careful not to shoot yourself in the foot by asking certain questions actively.

Ideally, decide on two to three general questions in the first interview. If you have made it to the next round, you can ask more specifically.

A high degree of interest and motivation can be seen if the candidate has done his duty of researching the company in advance.

Therefore, you should avoid asking questions that could easily be answered by a quick look at the company’s website.

Questions about the following areas can be asked in the first interview:

  • Reason for open position

  • Team structure / number of colleagues

  • Main tasks/responsibilities

  • Teamwork vs. self-responsibility

  • Ways of communication and meeting structure

  • Company culture

  • Feedback and employee reviews

  • Hierarchy structure and direct supervisor

  • Development opportunities

  • On-boarding period

  • Working hours and travelling

  • Holiday agreement

  • Benefits

  • Salary

  • Next Steps in the recruiting process

Of course, the questions you ask also depend on the atmosphere and on the person and company you are interviewed by (e.g. Startup vs. Corporate). You have to decide for yourself how far you want to go in the first step and trust your gut feeling.

Jennifer Roth, Senior HR Consultant