It may surprise you to learn that one of the most important parts of your interview preparation is thinking up relevant and thoughtful questions to ask your interviewer. When the employer has finished asking you about your skills and experience for the role, you will then have the opportunity to ask any questions.

Interestingly, a recent survey showed that the most unforgiveable thing a candidate can do during an interview is to not ask any questions. It is in fact considered worse than being late or poorly presented. These results are proof that one simply cannot succeed in a job interview without asking a reasonable number of good, well prepared and thoughtful questions. Asking an employer questions allows you to display your passion for the role and the organisation.

Additionally, it shows the interviewer that not only are you good at responding accurately to question but that you are also able to articulate yourself and ask relevant questions. When preparing your questions, think about keeping them short and to the point. Like any interview dialogue, remember the importance of not interrupting your interviewer at any time and avoid questions which are not related to the company or role that you have applied for.

Specifically, try to think of questions which focus on what the company can offer you, since the first part of the interview is related to you and what you can bring to the company. Once you have a base of suitable questions you can begin practising and learning them so that you are ready with a selection of questions in all interviews you attend. Here are some examples of suitable questions:

• What skills and experience do successful people in your company typically have?
• How has the business developed over the past year?
• What plans do you have for the company in the future?
• How do you predict that your niche in the industry will develop over the next few years?
• Have you seen other companies influenced by what you do?
• Typically, how do you find your customers and how do they find you?
• What is the most exciting project that you are working on at the moment?
• What do you like most about working for the company?
• What would you say the strengths and weaknesses of the department are?

These are a few examples of some appropriate questions that you could ask your interviewer when given the opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role. Remember that following your research for the interview you can think about what else you might like to know and compose some of your own. Do spend some time practising these questions and think about what answers you might receive.

It is always worth listening to the interviewer’s answer, as it might prompt you to think of another relevant question in response. Most importantly, remember to relax and smile when interviewing your interviewer as this will show the employer that you are confident and passionate about the position you have applied for.