Job interviews can feel very one sided and people prepare themselves for lots and lots of questions aimed at them.

However, your next career move is not a decision to take lightly therefore why not go into the interview armed with questions and turn it into more of a conversation. Carefully considered questions aimed at the interviewees can spark a conversation and show your confidence.

1. How would you describe the company’s culture?

This question shows that you’re really interested in what this company is like to work for. Do they have a high retention of staff? Is it a rewarding working environment? It could even be as simple as ‘Friday drinks are a regular thing’ so you know staff enjoy socialising with each other.

2. What do you like most about working here?

An extension to question one but this is a little bit more personal and refers to the interviewees own experience, rather than the overall company culture. You might get a more honest answer.

3. How did this vacancy come about?

Is it a brand new role? Are you taking over from someone else still at the company? It might make a difference knowing that you are originating a role or filling someone else’s shoes. The company could be expanding rapidly or restructuring which could lead to further questions in this direction.

4. Where are they now?

The second part to the previous question if the role is not brand new. What did they go on to do? Did they get promoted within the company? The progression of the person previously in the role could give some insight into your future at the company.

5. What does your ideal candidate bring to the role?

Ask this question and hope that they effectively describe you. You can then shape your answers to highlight the things that they value highest.

6. What is the next stage of the interview process?

If the role came to you via a recruiter, they should have told you this however it doesn’t hurt to ask the employer too. If said in the right way you can instil confidence by assuming you will be making it to the next stage and talking about what you can present next.

7. What stood out about my application?

There must have been a specific reason why your application stood out and why you’re being interviewed. Why not ask? You can then highlight the positives and perhaps fill in the areas that don’t get mentioned to boost your overall skills.

8. What makes this company different to their competitors?

If you’re interviewing for roles at similar or competing companies, this question is crucial. Even if you’re not, are they leaders of their industry or do they have some other kind of USP (unique selling point) that makes them stand out. It shows you are interested in the company as a whole.

9. Do you have any reservations about me at this point?

Now this is a bold one and it’s one to ask if you’ve gauged the atmosphere right. It puts the interviewee on the spot but it pushes them to be honest, shows confidence and – most importantly – gives you an opportunity to counter any concerns they have.

Bold questions like these are the key to being able to shape your interview, spark conversation and show confidence. See if you can include some of them in your next interview.