Top 5 ‘must ask’ questions in your next job interview

When were redundancies last made? Is there job security? These are important questions to ask. Here’s why.

An image of a woman attending a job interview.
Don't be afraid to ask the important questions at your next job interview. (Source: Getty)

When you get to the end of a job interview, it’s common practice that you’ll be given some time to ask a few questions of your own.

Don’t know what to ask? Recruitment expert and author Roxanne Calder shared her top “must-ask” questions with Yahoo Finance, and some you may have never thought of.

1. Is there job security?

Calder said it was important to ask when redundancies were last made, how many people were impacted and why those people were let go. It may be awkward to ask, but it could save you a lot of hassle down the road.

“Look for valid reasoning versus short-term decision-making. Consider if the situation is likely to arise again soon,” Calder said.

“For example, if funding is an issue, is that on the horizon in six months' time? Look to the board, chair, and senior leadership team for quality appointments and stability. What of the industry? Is it volatile, or is the revenue stream assured and secure? Has the share price had any significant fluctuations, and what of the recent press releases? Use all indicators in making an informed decision.”

2. Is there a skills gap?

Calder said to be wary if the position had been vacant for an extended amount of time.

“This could mean a compromise in skills required for the role. Be aware, the employer's reconciliation of skills may not be aligned with the reality of the expected job performance,” she said.

“The skills compromise must also extend to the time required to come up to speed. Understanding this assists both parties in exploring timelines, training, and support required.

“The skills gap is new territory for both employers and employees. Responsibility sits with you as well to invest in the role to ensure success.”

3. What is expected of me in the role?

Calder said many workplaces were now asking more from their employees, so it was important to know exactly what tasks you would be expected to complete.

“It's today's workplace reality. To uncover the impact on you, ask about any headcount issues in your team. How many of the team are new hires? Even new hires, matching full job competency, take time to come up to speed,” she said.

“When was the job description (JD) last updated? Marry the JD with what has been discussed at the interview and the job advertisement. Look for gaps and discrepancies.

“Why is the incumbent leaving, and how long were they in the role? Don't be put off by workloads or turnover in the position. It can still represent a good opportunity. You just need to know the facts to make the right call.”

4. Can I be me?

Calder said fit and culture were “all important” when looking for a new role. You want to feel that you can be yourself in your workplace.

“Don't let anyone cajole you, including yourself, into thinking it's not important. Part of the culture refers to your new boss and colleagues,” she said.

“Ask your future boss what the must-lived values are. Then ask for examples that showcase these. What do your boss and colleagues like about their job and the organisation? Authenticity is key, not token statements. If they love their job, which is never hidden, the higher the chances of positive and passionate people surrounding you.”

5. What do you like to do?

You’ve probably been in a job interview where you have been asked about your hobbies and passions - feel free to also ask the same questions back, Calder said.

“It's always good to show interest in others. Importantly though, it provides insight into who you will be working with, their interests, values and perspectives. You will quickly gauge connection, relatedness and shared values,” she said.

“If it is your boss, ask how they like to work, even their hours, communication style and the deal breakers.”

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