How to question your way into a new job.

Author: Bella

Categorised as: Resources

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” – Tony Robbins


It’s always a shame to see a job-seeker who is qualified for a role miss out because they were unable to convey their value to a prospective employer. The job-seeker had the skills that the employer was looking for, the employer had the opportunity and the challenge that the job-seeker was looking for, yet somehow things didn’t come together. Why?

As with all interpersonal interactions the answer is often complex and case by case. However, issues like the above frequently arise when people make too many assumptions and as we all know, assumptions are the mother of all f@#k ups!

A simple fix: ask more questions

The more high quality questions you ask throughout your job hunt, the better! 3 major benefits of asking more questions are:

  1. It will show that you are interested;
  2. You will gain more intel which will help you to target your pitch and make a successful impression;
  3. You will have gathered information to help you objectively decide which opportunities/jobs best match your goals (i.e. your decisions will be more fact based and based less on pure emotion*)

Questions > Assumptions

Here is a starter-pack of questions to help you navigate your job search from a more informed position:

Questions for yourself

  • Why am I looking for a new position/company? (more freedom, work/life balance, salary, new challenge)
  • What is my timing to move?

Questions when first meeting your recruiter

  • How can I improve my CV to help me get more interviews?
  • Are there many (insert area of interest) opportunities in the market at the moment?
  • Are there any industry certifications that you would recommend I look into getting?

Questions to help you prepare for your interview

  • What specific parts of my background made the company interested in meeting with me?
  • If a moa eats my CV, my car engine explodes and I’m running a few minutes late for my interview, who can I call to inform?
  • Do I need to take or prepare anything for my interview?
  • Will this interview involve any technical testing?
  • Who will I be meeting with? (so that you can check their background(s) and prepare more relevant questions for them)

Questions to help you negotiate your contract conditions

  • What is market compensation rate for this position/seniority level?
  • What is my required notice period with my current company?
  • Am I willing to take a drop in compensation to help me make a move into a more interesting job?

Questions to help you smoothly transition into your new role

  • Is there anything that I can read up on or do to help me prepare for my first day?
  • Who is currently the best at XYZ in the company? (then go and learn from this person…they are the best for a reason)
  • What is expected of me and how will my performance be measured during my first quarter, half year and year?

There are a million more questions but these should offer a good starting point. You can even use these initial questions to help you to practice asking questions and kick-start yourself into ‘question asking mode’. As silly as that may sound, you actually need to practice asking questions to get better at it.

So best of luck and happy questioning!


*Lou Adler (a well-known recruitment guru) focuses on this more from the perspective of a hiring company however his ideas on objective information gathering and questioning are excellent and well worth checking out.