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The five best and five worst questions asked in a job interview

Bosses will have seen potential in any candidates they offer a job interview, but that can quite easily be dismissed depending on the questions they receive from would-be hires.
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Pimlico Plumbers owner Charlie Mullins has previously discussed his job interview experiences and one major irk of his was down to dress code.

Indeed, he found that many applicants thought that jeans and trainers were correct job interview attire, while some even rocked up in shorts and flip flops.

Interestingly, a study at the start of August found a third of staff think corporate attire is outdated.

However, beyond personal appearance, while employers have a series of job interview questions they want to fire at candidates, they will often expect to receive questions too. In fact, 87.4 per cent of UK workers think there are certain things to steer clear of when quizzing potential bosses, according to CV-Library.

Some 92.3 per cent of professionals say they try to ask a question during a job interview, while a thorough 79.3 per cent conduct research in advance to raise tailored queries.

“It’s always good to turn up to an interview armed with appropriate questions to ask and you should always note them down in case you have a mind blank half way through!” said Lee Biggins, founder and MD of CV-Library.

“Not only will this show you’re well prepared, it also demonstrates that you have a genuine interest in the company and the opportunity to work there.”

Clearly not everyone got the memo though.

These are the five worst questions that people asked in the past, which they believe cost them the chance to be hired:

(1) What does your company do? – 53 per cent

(2) How often do you give your employees a pay-rise? – 52.9 per cent

(3) Will I have to work long hours? – 50.3 per cent

(4) How much will I get paid? – 49.8 per cent

(5) Do you offer sick pay? – 45.4 per cent

Other topics raised that Brits believe risked their prospects include how much holiday they’ll receive and who competitors are.

How many questions should be asked though? Some 54.7 per cent think three to five is enough, 33.4 per cent would go for one or two and 9.2 per cent would go armed with six to ten.

Biggins warned: “Unfortunately, questions around money and working hours can often touch a nerve with potential employers, as it could suggest that you’re not actually interested in the role itself and the work you’ll be doing.

“That’s not to say you can’t ask about the package the company is offering, it’s just important that you phrase it in the right way.”

As for winning bosses over during a job interview, workers feel these are the best questions to ask for boosted chances of being hired:

(1) Is there room for development in this position? – 74.2 per cent

(2) How would you describe the general culture of the company and the workplace? – 51.3 per cent

(3) What are the team like that I will be working with? – 36.8 per cent

(4) When can I start? – 24.2 per cent

(5)  How do you measure success? – 23.3 per cent

“Rather than going straight in with questions around salaries and working hours, you can find out more about a company by posing questions about their culture, teams and how they measure success,” Biggins offered.

“Doing so will help you paint a picture of what it’s like to work there, and will also show to the interviewer that you are passionate about working in a company where the fit is right on both sides.

“Never be afraid to follow-up with an interviewer if there are questions which you don’t feel comfortable asking about face-to-face. Remember, it’s about checking that the company is right for you, as well as if you’re right for the company.”

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About Author

Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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