How Many Potential Questions Should You Identify Ahead of A Job Interview?

Job interviews tend to follow a similar pattern.

Typically 60-90 minutes for a first formal interview.

In that time there’s a limit on how many questions you are going to be asked.

Of course how many questions you will be asked and how many you need to be ready for is very different.

Whenever I’m speaking about landing your next job or delivering workshops on this topic, I ask how many potential questions people might ask ahead of the interview.

Some only identify a handful of questions.

Most will say 20-30.

Occasionally some will say 50+

Whenever you ask people about their job interview challenges, confidence often comes up.

Of course confidence is an outcome or consequence of how well prepared you are.

If you go into an interview over prepared, you will be more confident.

If you are confident you will sell yourself effectively and not be thrown off track by a slightly left field question.

So how many potential questions should you identify ahead of a job interview?

In my view, a minimum of 40 to 50.

So how do you identify potential questions?

Document Review

There’s 3 documents that are a great resource of potential questions:

  • Job advert
  • Job description
  • Person specification

Review these forensically and you will identify plenty of potential questions.

Review Your CV or Application Form

Your CV or application form will make claims about what you can offer.

As a result it’s not unreasonable to assume that you will be asked questions to back up the claims that you make.

Company Website and Social Media Accounts

Finding out about a company has never been easier.  Information is at your fingertips.

Most organisations have a lot of information on their websites.

They commonly have company pages on social media sites like LinkedIn.

Sector Reports, White Papers and Industry Analysis

Many professional services firms, consultancies and even blogs contain things like sector reports, white papers and analysis.

They are often forward looking.

Your Own Knowledge

If you know what’s critical to success in a role, you will be able to draw on your own knowledge to identify potential questions.

The Bottom Line:  Most won’t identify enough questions.  With a little effort you can be the candidate who identifies plenty, comes across well and has the edge over other candidates.

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About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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