In this issue

  • Feature Article: How to Interview Your Next Employer
  • Holiday Dates

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Hello and welcome to July’s Career Matters newsletter. This month, we’re looking at questions to ask interviewers.

FEATURED ARTICLE: How to “interview” your next employer

In interview coaching sessions, the question of what questions to ask your interviewers always comes up.

Asking questions which demonstrate your research and expertise will help you stand out from other candidates. Most candidates will only have read company website, but will not have read the trade or financial press or spoken to people working inside the organisation (which is easily done by reaching out to people through LinkedIn). Many more will not think to go one step further and use what they’ve learned to relate it to the value they can add to that role and organisation. It also shows your passion for the organisation, if you have gone to the bother of doing lots of research.

Example: If you’re in “learning and development” and you unearthed information about a recent turnaround in levels of staff engagement, you might ask questions such as “I read in CIPD magazine that you managed to recently turn around staff engagement from 40% to 65% in one year. What was your strategy? What has been a challenge in implementing that strategy? What do you want to have happen next?” If you have some experience in designing or delivering on engagement or retention strategies, you would then tell them the value you add to this project.

But, we also recommend that you ask questions about their expectations of you and indirectly, the likely workload.


“Six months from now how will you know you hired the right person in me?” will tell you about the personal qualities they are looking for. An alternative might be “What knowledge, skills or expertise are the team currently missing, that this team needs to deliver on objectives this year?  You can then follow up with a summary of how you are a great fit for that. 

“What will I have delivered in the first six months?” followed up with “What is our starting point?” will help you assess what their expectations are of you (and whether they might be too stretching to achieve in your experience, or too low to excite you in this role). Other similar questions include “What challenges keep you up at night?” or “What needs tackling first and why?”

Thirdly, you want to ask questions which will enable you to assess whether this organisation is a fit for you. If you’ve ever taken a job then regretted it, I can bet you that nine times out of ten, it will because you didn’t ask questions about their culture (or you dismissed your gut reaction to the way the interviewers were being at the interview). 

If work life balance is important to you, or being part of a sociable team then you should ask questions which might help you ascertain whether this is a place that meets your career needs. Similarly if you are in a change role, then you want to assess before you go in how resistant or open to change the team are and whether this organisation will enable or thwart you in the introduction of new ideas. Start by asking yourself before the interview “what do I need from this job to be happy and productive?” and then devise some questions which might help answer those.


“Talk me through the typical process for getting X (type of project you run) do…”

“Which is more important here? The number of hours you are in the office or delivering on results ahead of time every time, whether that’s done in the office or at home?”

“Is this a sociable team?”

“Why should I join this organisation? What’s the best bit… and the worst thing about working here here (be honest)?”

Of course, if you sense they are giving you the party line of what they think you want to hear, but their body language or tone of voice conflicts, you have the answer you need!

Interview coaching: If you have an interview coming up, and would like feedback on your impact and what you can do differently to improve your prospects of landing the job you want, contact us at


Looking to book a career review or a coaching session over the summer holiday, or just get in touch?

The Career Coach is closed and not responding to emails or calls between 25th July and 4th August. 

To book coaching time with Ros please use the online calendar which has available time until mid-September. Prospective clients can book in time from the home page of The Career Coach (

Happy holidays!

Warm regards 

Tel: 07861 714529

Mob: 07861 714529


Ros Toynbee
The Career Coach
Unit 20, The Circle
Great Elizabeth Street
London, SE1 2JE
United Kingdom