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As your job interview comes to a close, your interviewer will ask something like, "Do you have any questions for me?" The job interview is an excellent opportunity for you to assess whether the job and company are right for you. It's a great way to dig into what a typical day looks like and understand whether you're fit for the company culture.
The hiring manager will expect you to have questions, so make sure to prepare. If you don't ask the right questions, you risk coming off as unprepared or disinterested. Inversely, thoughtful questions help you stand out from other job candidates.
One outstanding question can be the difference between getting a job offer and not. Just as you prepare to answer common interview questions, it's best to prepare.
We've put together a list of the best questions to ask in an interview to get you started. You won't be able to get to them all, and your discussion will cover many of them, so it's best to have a handful to cover your bases.
Remember, interviewing is a two-way street. Yes, you're trying to get the job, but you're also deciding whether you want to work there and if you're a good fit.
22 questions to ask about the job
First, make sure you get a handle on what precisely the day-to-day responsibilities of the job are and will be in the future, as well as things that weren't necessarily clear in the job description. A good interviewer should be able to answer these questions with ease.
- What is a typical day or week on the job?
- Can you talk me through the most pressing issues?
- Can you give me an example of any projects I'd work on if hired?
- Could you describe your ideal candidate to me?
- What are the biggest challenges I would face in this job?
- What are the best things about this job and working for this company?
- What skills, abilities, or attributes would I need to succeed in this position?
- What gaps are you looking to fill with this role?
- Is there a budget allocated to this position?
- What are the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?
- What challenges do you expect me to face in this position?
- What type of background is best suited for this position?
- Is this a new role, or would I be inheriting tasks from a previous employee?
- Do you expect the primary responsibilities to change in the next six months to a year?
- What is the typical work week?
- Is overtime expected?
- What's the most important thing I should accomplish in the first ninety days of this job?
- What level of travel do you expect?
- What are you hoping to see from the next person to fill this role that the last person lacked?
- What is the salary range for this role?
- Does this role contribute to higher-level decisions?
- How long did the previous person in the role hold the position? What has the turnover in this role been?
13 questions to ask about training and professional development
Think of each new job as the next step in your career path. Use the interview process to determine whether the new position will help you get closer to your dream job.
- How will I be trained?
- Is there a budget for continuing my education?
- Do you generally promote from within or hire experienced people outside the organization?
- Do you have any training programs available for employees?
- What is the last person who had this job doing now?
- Where have successful employees in this role progressed to?
- Why is this job available? Is this a new position? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do?
- What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
- How does one advance in the company?
- What progression do you envision for someone in this role?
- Will I be able to learn new skills and technologies in this role?
- Do you have any examples of a career path beginning from this position?
- Do you provide professional development opportunities?
14 questions to ask about performance
Understanding how the interviewer, potential new manager, and the company measure success is key to understanding priorities, managerial styles, and where the company is heading. Questions like these also show that you care about excelling in the role, not just meeting expectations.
- How will you measure the success of the person in this position?
- What do I have to do to succeed in this role?
- How do you like to be kept updated on work progress?
- What is the performance review process?
- How often would I be formally reviewed?
- What metrics or goals will you use to evaluate me?
- How are raises calculated and awarded?
- Which part of the position has the steepest learning curve? What can I do to get up to speed quickly?
- How do bonuses work?
- Thinking back to people you've seen do this work previously, what differentiated the ones who were good from the ones who were great at it?
- How do I compare with the other candidates you've interviewed for this role?
- What is your ideal candidate?
- What were my best answers in this interview?
- What would impress you if I achieved it in my first three months?
14 questions to ask about the interviewer
Asking the interviewer questions shows that you're interested in not only the company but also the person, which is a great way to build rapport and make a good impression.
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
- How long have you been at the company?
- How has your role changed since you've been here?
- What did you do before you worked here?
- Why did you join this company?
- Do you think I will be a good fit for the company?
- What are the expectations about managing workflow?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What's one of the most exciting projects or opportunities you've worked on here?
- Do you feel that your opinion counts?
- Have I answered all your questions?
- What do you find most challenging about working for this organization?
- What do you enjoy about your job?
- Do you have any questions about my resume?
18 questions to ask about the company
Here are several good interview questions to ask to learn a bit more about where you might work beyond what your role would be. These questions can help you learn more about how the company thinks, how old it is, and who your competition could be.
- Could you please expand on what you mentioned about growth plans and company vision?
- What's the future strategy of the company?
- What does the company look for in its employees?
- Do you have product-market fit?
- How many people work at the company?
- What is your runway?
- What is the company's growth rate?
- Would you sell the company?
- What are the company's key priorities over the next five years?
- Who do you consider your top competitor, and why?
- What are the biggest challenges facing the company?
- Do you have a policy for helping new team members get on board?
- How has the company changed over the last few years?
- How long has the longest-tenured employee worked here?
- What's your staff turnover rate, and what are you doing to reduce it?
- What makes people stay at this company?
- How many people work in this office/department?
- Where do you think the company is heading in the next five years?
7 questions to ask about the team
Ultimately, the most important thing is the team you work with day in and day out. A good question gives you something that you can't get from a job description, personal perspective into the team, and whether it might be right for you.
- What are the backgrounds of the people on your team?
- Can you tell me about the team and their manager?
- What are the founders' backgrounds?
- What are the most significant opportunities facing the team right now?
- What tools do the team use?
- How many people work on the team?
- Can I meet the person I would report to before making my final decision?
20 questions to ask about company culture
Beyond the team you're working with, the company culture has the most prominent part to play in how much you enjoy the job. Each question shows what the company values and how they treat their staff.
- Can you tell me a bit more about the work culture?
- What are this company's core values?
- How is the feedback process structured?
- How are these values reflected in company processes and policy?
- How would you describe the company's values and culture?
- What kind of people, who are otherwise successful, don't work out here?
- What is the general level of socializing?
- What is the company's management style?
- How do different departments work together?
- How do you respond to staff conflicts?
- Do team members have structured 1-on-1s?
- Does the company have social events?
- What is the policy on remote work?
- What type of people tend to thrive here, and who doesn't do well?
- What is the vacation policy?
- Did the founders take vacations this year?
- What is your favorite thing about the company culture?
- How would you score the company on living up to its core values? What's the one thing you're working to improve?
- What's your favorite part about working for this company?
- What's your least favorite thing about working here?
9 questions to ask about the next steps
Before leaving, ensure you are clear on the next steps and that the interviewer has everything they need.
- What are the next steps?
- Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications or experience?
- Is there anything we haven't yet covered that you think is essential to know about working here?
- Is there anything I should have asked you?
- Is there anyone else you would like me to meet?
- What's your timeline for the next steps?
- Is there anything else I can do or provide to help you make your decision?
- How soon would you like me to start if you offer me the job?
- When can I expect to hear from you?
4 questions to avoid in an interview
There are a few questions you should avoid asking to paint yourself in the best light:
- What does this company do? You need to research the company before your interview!
- How soon can I take a vacation? Wait until you've received the offer before mentioning other arrangements.
- Can I change my schedule if I get the job? If you need to adapt your schedule, it's best to mention it when the company offers you the job.
- Do I get the job? Don't say this in your first interview. The hiring manager needs time to think and assess other candidates. They'll tell you.
Guidelines for asking questions
While you won't ask every question listed above, good questions make you look informed and prepared for the interview process. Keep the following things in mind when you're choosing your questions:
- Ask the questions you care about: While it's understandable to want to impress your interviewer, you need to be assessing whether the job, employer, and manager are right for you. If you only focus on getting the job, you risk landing in a role you won't enjoy.
- Don't ask "me" questions: These include questions about salary, employee benefits, or other concessions. Remember, you're trying to emphasize your ability to do the job. Once the company offers you the position, you can start to negotiate.
- Focus on one thing at a time: Avoid multi-part questions. They're hard to follow and even harder to answer. Keep each question focused on a specific point.
- Avoid "yes" or "no" questions: 99% of questions that a hiring manager can answer with one word can be found on Google. Use your job interview to open up the conversation so you can get insider information.
- Cover multiple topics: Avoid asking questions about the same topic. For example, don't only ask about what strengths the manager is looking for, as the interviewer may assume you haven't read the job description thoroughly. Asking questions about multiple topics shows your curiosity and helps you assess whether the position is the right fit for you.
- Don't ask what the company does: This is a red flag because it shows you haven't done your research. Show respect for yourself and the company and invest time into research before your interview.
- Don't ask deeply personal questions: While you are trying to build rapport, it's best not to ask personal questions if the interviewer doesn't feel comfortable talking about themself.
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