Just as you research and prepare for common interview questions you might be asked, you should be ready to ask your own. As your job interview comes to a close, it's common to be asked “Do you have any questions for me?"
The hiring manager will expect you to have some inquiries. If you don’t ask the right questions, you can come across as unprepared or disinterested which is a red flag for potential employers. Inversely, asking smart questions is a great way to stand out as a job candidate. One great question can show that you're the right fit and can make the difference between you getting your dream job or it going to someone else.
Just as you’d use the STAR method to prepare for behavioral interview questions, we recommend planning ahead and having your own interview questions you want to ask. Asking questions is not only a great way to dig into the company culture, but it also helps you get an idea of what a typical day may look like.
Remember, interviewing is a two-way street. You’re not only trying to get a job, but you’re also making a decision about what it might look like to work there and whether you’re a good fit.
Guidelines for asking questions
While you don’t have to ask every question listed below, nor could you, having a few good questions will make you look informed and prepared for the interview process. With that said, keep the following things in mind when preparing your list of questions.
- Avoid only asking self-serving questions: Otherwise known as “me” questions. These include questions about salary, health insurance, vacation time, work hours per week, benefits, and other concessions. Remember the main point of a job interview is to demonstrate that you’re a great fit for the company to the interviewer. With that said, it’s also about assessing whether you want to work there.
- Ask a question at a time: Avoid complex, multi-part questions. They’re hard to follow and even harder to answer. Try to keep each question focused on a specific point.
- Avoid “Yes” or “No” questions: Most one-word answer questions can easily be answered by the company’s website or Google. The best answers tend to open up the conversation and let you learn insider information that isn’t easily accessible.
- Ask smart questions about multiple topics: Avoid asking questions about a single topic. Don’t only ask about the job responsibilities for example. Hiring managers want to know that you’re interested and ideally passionate about the company, not just your role. Asking questions about a variety of topics is the best way to determine whether the company is the right fit for you.
- Don’t ask what the company does: This is a big red flag and shows you haven’t done any research ahead of time. Show respect to yourself and the company, invest a bit of time getting to know the company before your interview.
17 questions to ask about the job
First, make sure you get a handle on what exactly 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 does a typical day look like?
- Can you talk me through an example project I might work on?
- What are the biggest challenges I would face in this job?
- What are the skills and attributes you’re looking for in an ideal person?
- What attributes would I need to be successful in this position?
- What gaps are you looking to fill with this role?
- What sort of budget would I be working with?
- Is this a new role or would I be inheriting tasks from a previous employee?
- Do you expect the main 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?
- How much travel is expected?
- What are you hoping to see from the next person to fill this role that was missing in the last?
- 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 generally been?
11 questions to ask about training and professional development
Think of each new job not just as a job, but 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?
- 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?
13 questions to ask about performance
Understanding how the interviewer or potential new manager, and the company as a whole, measures 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 do you measure success in this role?
- 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 like?
- How often would I be formally reviewed?
- What metrics or goals will my performance be evaluated against?
- How are raises calculated and awarded?
- Which part of the position has the steepest learning curve? What can I do in order 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 really 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? This great question gives you feedback about how to operate in your next interview.
12 questions to ask about the interviewer
Asking the interviewer questions shows that you’re interested in not only the company, but for them as a person, and that 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 interesting projects or opportunities that you’ve worked on?
- Do you feel that your opinion counts?
- Have I answered all your questions?
- What do you find most challenging about working for this organization?
16 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. This can help you learn more about how the company thinks, how old it is, as well as who you may be competing against.
- 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?
- What’s the minimum price you would exit for?
- 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 members of the team 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?
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 manager I’ll be working with?
- What are the founders’ backgrounds?
- What are the biggest opportunities facing the team right now?
- What tools do the team use?
- How many people work on the team?
- Who does this position report to? If I am offered the position, can I meet them before making my final acceptance decision?
17 questions to ask about company culture
Beyond the team you’re working with, the company culture has the biggest 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?
- 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?
- What are company social events like?
- What is the policy on remote work?
- What type of people tend to really thrive here, and what type don’t do as well?
- What is the vacation policy?
- Did the founders take vacations this year?
- What is the company culture like? What is your favorite thing about it?
- How would you score the company on living up to its core values? What’s the one thing you’re working to improve on?
8 questions to ask about next steps
Finally, before you leave ensure the interviewer has everything they need and you are clear about what is happening next.
- 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 important to know about working here?
- Is there anyone else you would like me to meet with?
- What’s your timeline for next steps?
- Is there anyone else at the organization you’d like me to meet with?
- Is there anything else I can do or provide to help you make your decision?
- If I am extended a job offer, how soon would you like me to start?