So you’re looking your best, feeling (kind of) confident and ready to go get that job.

It’s the day of the interview.

Whilst the spotlight is almost nearly always on you, you should take a step back and think about what you want from the next step in your career.

When preparing for your next interview, you should consider:

  • If you are currently in work, what would you change about your current workplace?
  • What kind of people do you enjoy the company of and work with best?
  • What processes, schemes, events or policies would you ideally like in place in your workplace?
  • What values would you like to share with your employer?

Ask yourself those questions. Make a note of the answers.

This process will help you to find a workplace where you feel happy

When you’re content with where you’re working and who you’re working with, you’ll be at the top of your game. That’s why you should be just as selective as potential employers when it comes to making a business decision about your future career options.

So, how can you translate your needs – the answers to those earlier questions – into something you can respectfully ask to potential employers?

Don’t worry – I’ve done that bit for you below with some common examples.

Values

Q: What are your company values?

If this isn’t present on the employer’s website, start ringing those internal warning bells!

When you ask this question – which is probably one of the most obvious and commonly used questions that I’ve addressed in this post – you should really start to worry if your interviewer/s simply look at you blankly.

It’s not always that straightforward though. Many organisations – for example those that are family-run and have been around for decades – may have a more traditional culture that includes keeping such values internal.

Other organisations may have a culture that works for you, yet it’s not so formally classified, and as such company values may be a more loosely defined concept, which will result in a more scrambled reply from your interviewer.

Be considerate about how potential employers maintain company values, and try to understand why they do so. Ultimately however, you need to assess if their is significant match-up between your personal values and the values that your potential employer possesses.

Social

Q: So, what kind of social events do you hold?

How do you enjoy socializing? You want to be in a social environment that’s comfortable for you – don’t try to change so much to try and fit in with the way an organisation runs things. You have to be happy in your own skin.

If you’re of a more introvert nature, this is still relevant to you. Will you feel excluded if you don’t attend social events? Will you feel out of the loop if you have to go home to your children rather than stay for a drink? We all have different desires for the social element of our work, and it’s well worth asking about, whatever your preferences.

Growth

Q: …and, how much has the company grown in the last X years?

You want to be working in a financially stable environment, right?

This information is sometimes available on the employer’s website or marketing material, but if not, you should inquire about it. It’s important that you know at what rate the company is growing, as it affects your long term future.

You need to be able to safeguard your future, and without company growth data or other relevant financial statistics, you’re not able to do this.

Morale

Q: What’s a typical procedure for dealing with dissatisfied staff?

There’s no excuse; employers should care about the well-being of their employees. Even if an individual is being unreasonable in their demands for their role, some form of compromise can almost always be met.

You should aspire to be working for an organisation that puts its employees first – that asks you ‘How are you?’ and takes the time to actually take a legitimate interest in you as a person, and what you want from your job.

Performance

Q: How do you assist employees in their continuing professional development?

What role does the potential employer take in the management of employees’ performance and development?

You need to know this, because it greatly affects the way you work. Everybody is different, and you need to find an employer with a culture that allows you to work in the way that you know provides the best outcomes.

Equality & Diversity

Q: How do you work to promote equality and diversity in the workplace?

Equality and diversity goes beyond simply recruiting candidates from a variety of different cultures and of different genders and ethnicities.

Equal opportunities and, yes, the opportunity to work alongside a talented workforce from a range of diverse backgrounds, creates a healthy learning environment in which to work.

Environment

Q: How would you describe the nature of your workplace environment?

What kind of workplace environment does the potential employer have? Are people permitted to be chatty and opinionated in their conduct, or do senior management encourage a more muted culture?

Think what type of environment will be best for you in terms of both personal happiness and productivity.

Conclusion

Most employers welcome questions from applicants. It shows a keen interest in the role, and a mature consideration for your own personal well-being and contentment in your next workplace.

It’s important to think about just how you are going to ask these questions however. Don’t be rash about it. Whilst you should absolutely be selective about your next job (it is a big decision after all!), you do need to remember that the people interviewing you are offering you a valuable opportunity.

With that in mind, be respectful to the individuals responsible for quizzing you in the interview. They enjoy working for their employer (if it seems they don’t, maybe you shouldn’t be applying for this job!) and even if you’re not so sure on whether you want that job anymore, offending them won’t help the situation, and will ruin any chance you had.

But armed with these questions and a polite manner, you’ll be able to acquire the information that’ll make it so much easier for yourself when it comes to making an informed decision on your next role. And with that, I wish you good luck! I hope you’re able to find happiness in your future career, with the ideas covered in this post acting as a helpful starting point.

Author bio: Jordan Bradley works for High Speed Training (HST), a fully accredited specialist eLearning course provider based in the UK. He enjoys his responsibility of managing HST’s Hub – a blog which posts weekly insightful articles on a range of topics related to their array of online courses. Jordan spends the rest of his time running around the countryside, travelling on weekends to visit friends he wished lived closer, and fighting hard in the battle against laziness, amongst other things.