9 questions to ask about job security in an interview


It’s natural to feel cautious about changing jobs right now. As the cost of living continues to be a top concern for people, job security has never been more important. 25% of people feel the current economic climate makes them hesitant about changing jobs, and 37% say they’re holding off on changing because they like the stability of their current role.

Given this, it’s particularly important to ask the right questions during an interview. Here are some specific, practical job interview questions you can ask to find out about the security of a role and what it’s like to work for the organisation.

Questions about the role

Asking questions to better understand the role and the organisation will help you work out whether it’s the right fit, says Leah Lambart, Career Coach at Relaunch Me.

“Ideally, you don’t want to accept a role that isn’t right for you, and then find yourself in the same position job-hunting again six months later,” she says.

Asking the following questions can help you determine if the position is going to suit you long-term:

  1. What type of person usually succeeds in this role? Or, what are the key skills and attributes someone needs to be successful in this role?
    Asking this question helps you discover whether you are a good fit for the role on offer. Is it what you expected it to be from the job description? Do you have the right personality, strengths, skills and experience to be successful? Or do they need something different to what is written in the job advertisement?
    How do you measure success in this role?

    2. This question helps you assess whether the expectations of the hiring manager or business are realistic. It also helps you understand where the bar is set in terms of performance expectations, whether you think it’s realistic and if it’s something you want to strive for.

Finding out about the longevity of the role will reveal whether there’s an opportunity to progress with the company in the future, Lambart says. To get a better understanding of this, ask questions such as:

  1. What would be a typical career path for someone starting in this role?
  2. What skills would someone usually develop in this position, and what other roles could this lead to internally?
  3. What learning and development opportunities are available in this role?

    “These questions will help you understand what the career path might look like and ensure you have a good sense of what the role may lead to on a longer-term basis,” Lambart says.

    Organisations and managers who are already talking about development and career progression for a job seeker are a good indicator that they’re keen to keep you around for the long term. Lambart explains that this is particularly important if you’re looking for a role you can settle into without moving again too soon.

Questions about the business or organisation

Lambart suggests asking questions to help understand what challenges the organisation has experienced, and what they’re doing to overcome them.

  1. What do you see as the big challenges facing your business at the moment?
    It pays to do your research regarding the challenges an organisation may be facing now and in the future, and what they have put in place to reduce this risk. For example, how might AI/technology impact current product or service offerings? Or how might a new competitor in the market impact revenue? This question will help identify what the business is facing into at the moment and how they are addressing any risks.
  2. What's your 5-year business strategy?
    This indicates whether the business has a strategy in place or whether they are only reacting to what is happening. If hiring managers can’t explain the business strategy over the next five years, this suggests there isn’t any strategy in place or that it isn't communicated down from the executive level.
  3. How have you adapted to flexible and remote working?
    This helps you understand if the organisation is committed to remote and/or flexible working conditions. If this is important to you as a job seeker, make sure the current working conditions will continue after you accept a job offer.
  4. How do you feel you have performed compared to your key competitors over the last few years?
    This question will assess whether the business know their competitors and what strategies they have in place to stay competitive. An organisation that does their market research is more likely to stay ahead of the game.

Job security matters, of course, especially in a cost of living crisis. But being overly cautious means a great opportunity might pass you by.

These key questions help reveal information about the business or organisation and the potential level of job security if you accept an offer with them. Also, asking these questions will also show that you’ve done your research and have put thought into the new role and whether it is the right fit for you.

Source: Independent research conducted by Nature on behalf of SEEK. Interviewing 4000 Kiwis annually. Published April 2024.

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