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As your interview comes to a close, the hiring manager is likely to ask you "Do you have any questions for me?"
It's one of the most common job interview questions and is typically asked at the end of an interview. It's tempting to answer with a polite "No thanks", particularly if you feel everything has been covered during the interview process.
Resist the temptation even if you're confident you're a good fit for the position. This question is a critical part of the interview and interviewers expect you to have questions.
Use the tips and questions outlined below to ace your next interview.
Why you should ask questions during an interview
There are a number of reasons why it's important to ask questions during an interview:
- Asking questions shows you're interested: If you don't ask anything, you can come across as unprepared or disinterested in the opportunity, a red flag for any potential employer. Inversely, asking a great question can help you stand out as an ideal candidate. Questions show the hiring manager that you've thought seriously about the role and how you could contribute to the company.
- It's a chance to learn more: Job interviews are a two-way street. You are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. A few smart questions will give you a clearer picture of the company's culture, biggest challenges, and what your primary responsibilities will be on a daily basis. There's nothing worse than accepting a new job only to find out you're not a good match during the onboarding process.
- Thoughtful questions end the interview on a high note: Getting to the interview stage means the hiring manager thinks you're a good candidate. Thoughtful questions can break up the monotony of the interviewer's day while demonstrating that you're a great fit for the role.
Why do employers ask "do you have any questions for me?"
Employers ask if you have questions for a number of reasons. Mainly, interviewers want to:
- Provide you with a chance to ask your questions: Remember, you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. A good interviewer wants to let you guide the conversation to areas that are important to you so they can convince you to join the company.
- Assess your interest in the role: One of the biggest predictors of success in a role is interest. Hiring managers want to get an understanding of whether you are interested in the role or just need a job.
- See if you've been been listening: Employers want to see that you've been listening during the interview process. By getting you to asks questions, they'll know if you've been listening to the information previously provided.
- Determine if you've researched the company: If you don't have questions or only ask generic questions, it indicates to the interviewer that you haven't researched the company.
Prepare for the question
There is no excuse to be unprepared for this question. You should read through our list of the best questions to ask in an interview while keeping in mind that your questions will need to be adapted to the specific company and interviewer.
For example, if you're doing a screening interview with human resources, you might focus on the hiring process and ask what the company's goals are related to hiring, retaining, and offboarding employees.
If you pass the screening interview and then meet with your potential manager, you'll want to ask specific questions related to the job description, position expectations, and what a typical day looks like.
Prepare at least 10 questions in advance as the interviewer will cover off a lot during the interview and may unknowingly answer your questions.
Keep in mind, it's fine to write down the questions in your phone or notebook ahead of time and then review them in the interview. Just make sure to choose questions that demonstrate that you've been actively listening and care about the topic.
Research the company
There is nothing worse for an interviewer than a candidate asking questions that can be found on their website or with a quick Google search. You need to research the company prior to your interview. It's one of the easiest ways to stand out as a candidate.
Not only will research help you ask good questions, but it'll also help you understand the company's history and more importantly its mission and values, and whether you want to join the company.
Read the company's website, a few blog posts, and find any interviews you can with the CEO of another member of the senior leadership team. Use the information you gather to shape your questions. This will prove you took the time to learn about the company and how they fit into their overall industry.
What should I ask?
Your questions should make it clear that you were listening during the interview and understand the company's goals and priorities. Reflect back on earlier moments in the interview or use your questions to build off something the interviewer has said.
Pro tip: Practice your questions in advance and ask open-ended questions to give the interviewer the greatest opportunity to adequately answer your question.
Questions to ask the interviewer
No matter how seamless the intervew was and how amazing your rapport with the interviewer is, you should always have a few questions ready to ask. Below we've outlined a few broad categories and some great questions to ask, along with things you should avoid.
If you don't like the questions outlined below, read our guide on the best questions to ask in an interview.
5 questions about the role
These questions are a great opportunity to show the interviewer or hiring manager that you've already started to think about how you can contribute to the company. In addition to impressing the interviewer, you'll be learning valuable, personalized information about the role that isn't available in the job description.
Your questions could include:
- What does a typical day look like? A job description can only tell you so much. This question helps you understand what your day will look like.
- What are the biggest challenges I would face in this job? Helps you assess whether your skills, prior experience, and personality are a good fit for the role.
- What attributes would I need to be successful in this position? The answer to this question helps you understand whether you have what it takes to be successful if you are hired.
- What gaps are you looking to fill with this role? A great question to ask if you want to understand why they are hiring for the role and whether you can help out.
- Do you expect the main responsibilities to change in the next six months to a year? A good way to get a handle on the pace of change in the role and at the company.
Questions about training and professional development
You can also use this question to get a sense of how you'll be able to level up once you're an employee of the company. It's a good idea to preface these questions by expressing how excited you are about the role, otherwise you risk coming across as self-serving. Here are a few common questions:
- Is there a budget for continuing my education? If continually upskilling is important to you, it's a good idea to understand whether or not there is a budget in place to support your education once employed.
- Do you generally promote from within? This question can help you understand the company culture and whether they promote junior employees or look outside the company.
- What is the last person who had this job doing now? If the last person who had the job has been promoted or fired, you probably want to know.
- What are the prospects for growth and advancement? A great question to ask if you want to understand how you could grow and advance in your career based on taking the job.
- What career paths are available at the company? Some companies have structured career paths while other companies are less structured. Neither is inherently better than the other but it's a good thing to understand before you accept the job.
Questions about performance
Understanding what success looks like is one of the easiest ways to succeed in a role. Don't put yourself in a vulnerable position because you thought the role was measured against the wrong thing. Ask questions like:
- What do I have to do to succeed in this role? If the interviewer can't answer this question, it's a potential red flag. If they don't know what success is how will you?
- What metrics or goals will my performance be evaluated against? This question can help you get a gauge on how sophisticated the company is with their internal reporting.
- Which part of the position has the steepest learning curve? What can I do in order to get up to speed quickly? This is a great way to standout as a potential candidate as it shows that you're already thinking about how you can contribute.
- How do I compare with the other candidates you’ve interviewed for this role? Some interviewers might not want to share this with you but it's always handy to know how you stack up.
- What were my best answers in this interview? This is a useful question to ask even if you don't think you'll get the job as it can help shape your answers in future interviews.
Questions to ask about the interviewer
Use the opportunity to find out why the interviewer joined the company, what they like about it, and why they continue to work there:
- What do you enjoy most about working here? This can help you get a grasp of the good parts of the company and why the interviewer likes working there.
- Why did you join this company? This is similar to the question above but helps get into why they joined rather than why they continue to work there.
- Do you think I will be a good fit for the company? This is a good way to get a feel of the company culture and whether or not you'd be a good culture fit.
- Have I answered all your questions? This is a no brainer to ask. If the interviewer says no, follow up and ask what questions you haven't answered!
- What do you find most challenging about working for this organization? A great question to get at the heart of potential issues at the company that might not have been disclosed during the interview process.
Questions to ask about the company
While you should have researched the company, there is only so much you can gather from their website, listening to podcasts, and reading blog posts. If you've got pressing questions about strategy, whether they've got product-market fit, or their growth rate, ask questions like:
- What’s the future strategy of the company? The answer to this question can tell you a lot about the company and where it plans to go. If the interviewer can't answer this question clearly it could be a sign of poor management.
- Do you have product-market fit? This question only really applies to startups but is a useful one to ask as different skills are needed before and after product-market fit.
- Could you please expand on what you mentioned about growth plans and company vision? A well-run company will be able to answer their current growth plans as well as their ultimate company vision.
- Does the company have a high turnover rate? This might be an uncomfortable question to ask but it's important to understand.
- What makes people stay at this company? People stay at companies for different reasons, if the company has a lot of long-term employees it's a sign of good management.
Questions to ask about the team
Your team will make up a big part of your work life, so it's important to understand what they're like, how they work, and what you'll expect from you. This can come in the form of the following questions:
- Can you tell me about the team and manager I’ll be working with? If your interviewer isn't the hiring manager, it's a good idea to ask this question so you can get an initial idea of who you'd be working with day-to-day.
- How many people work on the team? Important to ask if you care about the size of the team you're working in.
- What tools do the team use? If there are tools or technology you like using, it's a good idea to see whether or not the company is using them too. If they are, it's a good way to stand out from other candidates.
- What are the founders’ backgrounds? Generally only important if you're joining a startup or a founder-led company, but very important if you are.
- What are the backgrounds of the people on your team? The quality of your team is a bit part of the quality of your work and if the team is good, you could work with them for the rest of your career (at the company or at different companies).
Questions to ask about company culture
Outside of the team you are working on, company culture plays a massive part in how much you enjoy work. Use these questions to get a grasp on company values and how they treat their staff:
- What are this company’s core values? If you have a strong set of values, it's a good idea to try to find a place to work that has values that match your own.
- What is the general level of socializing? Do people come to work then go straight home or do people hang out after work and on the weekends? Neither option is better than the other but you may prefer one option over the other.
- How would past employees describe the company? We feel that this is a great question that isn't often asked–probably because it's one that might stump the interviewer.
- What is the policy on remote work? If you care about working remotely, it's a good idea to get a handle on whether or not the company supports remote work.
- What is the company culture like? What is your favorite thing about it? Company culture is important when making a career move. There's a huge difference between working at a company that expects you to work 60 hours a week and one that is flexible on hours worked.
Questions to ask about next steps
To get clarity on next steps and whether you've missed anything, we recommend asking the interviewer the following questions:
- What are the next steps? Get an understanding of what might happen next. Will you need be invited to meet more of the team? Is there another round of interviews? Find out and set your expectations accordingly.
- What’s your timeline for next steps? There's nothing quite as frustrating as being ghosted after an interview. This can help you when writing your follow-up if you haven't heard back.
- Is there anything we haven’t yet covered that you think is important to know about working here? Ask this question as there might be something you need to know that the interviewer has forgot to tell you.
- Is there anyone else at the organization you’d like me to meet with? Sometimes the interviewer will want you to meet the rest of the team, the CEO, or another member of the senior leadership team. If you know ahead of time you can prepare for the next stage.
- If I am extended a job offer, how soon would you like me to start? This is practical question as you'll need to know how much notice to give your current employer and whether you can start as soon as they would like.
What not to ask
While you shouldn't be afraid to ask tough interview questions, there are some general things you should avoid:
- Asking questions you could answer yourself: If your question can be answered with a quick Google search or by reading the company's website, skit it. This is your opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the company from someone who works there. Simple questions can also indicate to the interviewer that you haven't taken the time to do your research.
- Complicated or multi-part questions: They're hard to follow and even harder to answer. Try to keep each question focused on a specific point.
- "Yes" or "No" questions: Most of these can be answered by Google or on the company's website, try to ask questions that open up the conversation and help you get an inside look into the company.
- Asking what the company does: This is a huge red flag that you haven't done your research. You should always show respect to yourself and the company you're interviewing with by investing time into research the company before you apply.
- Self-serving questions: While it's fine to ask about salary, health insurance, vacation time, and other perks, remember that the main point of a job interview is to demonstrate you're a great fit for the company.
- Personal questions and gossip: This is one you'll have to play by ear, some interviewers like talking about their personal lives before, during, or after an interview while others prefer to avoid it. Use your judgement.
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