Interviews are an essential part of the job application process, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that your only role will be to answer the interviewer’s questions. After all, this is a fantastic chance to learn more about the company and the job.
Employers expect questions from applicants. In fact, if an applicant does not ask any questions at all, it may be taken as a sign that they are not very interested in the job. What are the best questions to ask an interviewer?
When you are eager to join a company, you will want to learn a lot of things ahead of time. The first step, of course, is to do some research on the company’s website and elsewhere on the web. But even after doing that you may still have questions remaining. However, many applicants get too nervous during the interview and tend to forget things they wanted to ask about. Be sure to jot down the questions so you have them at hand when you are asked for them by your interviewer.
Questions to Ask in an Interview
#1 What will my day look like in this position?
Or you may word it differently, but the point is asking about what exactly you would be doing if you got hired. Will you be having Monday meetings with the team, submitting reports at the end of each day, etc.? Knowing this should help you get a better idea of how the work process is organized at this company. And also get a feel of whether it fits with your expectations.
#2 What kind of professional training is available to your employees?
You will want to know if you will have on-the-job training when you start. And whether the company offers opportunities for improving skills and growing professionally over time.
#3 How will my performance be evaluated?
It is obvious that your employer will have to evaluate your work, but how exactly is it done? It will help to understand what type of results the employer will be looking for. So you will be prepared to deliver those results.
#4 What do you personally like about working here?
When your interviewer answers this question, you should be able to tell if they sincerely enjoy being part of their team. Or if they are struggling to find the right words to describe their experience in a positive way. The latter would be a bad sign and may prompt you to look into it further by searching the web for feedback from former employees, if you haven’t done so by then.
#5 Who will I work with or report to?
What is the team structure? It is essential to understand how responsibilities are divided between employees. Are you expected to be a jack-of-all-trades or are there enough people to handle separate work areas? If you have to delegate certain work, will there be the right specialist to handle it?
#6 What do career paths usually look like in this department?
Is this a new position? If not, where did the person who was taking it earlier go to – did they leave the company or get promoted to another position? Which one? It is always good to understand what your career might look like if you were to get hired. Staying in one position for years and then having to leave because you see no growth opportunities within the company may be a factor that could affect your ultimate decision about taking the job.
#7 What is your office culture like? (for in-office jobs)
You’ve got to agree that office atmosphere plays an important role in how satisfied someone is with their work. These days, big and small companies try to attract employees by creating comfortable office conditions and offering all sorts of perks. Things like informal dress code, office parties, bring-your-pet/kid-to-work days, an office gym or a gym pass given to every employee may just make the difference when you have to decide between two job offers.
#8 How does your scattered team stay in touch? (for remote jobs)
Working remotely from anywhere in the world may sound like a dream job. But that’s usually until you face the issue of not being able to connect with your coworkers on a personal level. Many remote employees report starting to feel lonely at some point. Unless the company they work for makes specific effort to prevent that. You will want to know ahead of time whether you will feel comfortable with the arrangements your employer makes for the team.
#9 What challenges do you expect the company to face in the coming years?
Asking this question tells your potential employer that you are interested in staying with the company long-term. The answer may help you determine if the expected challenges are in line with your experience, your skills and the direction you would like to develop in.
#10 Will I be expected to travel when working in this role?
That’s not the first question you would think of. If the answer, whatever it might be, doesn’t really make any difference to you, then you may skip the question altogether. However, if you do care about travel requirements, be sure to find out some details on them before joining.
#11 Is there anything on my resume or in my background that makes you doubt I’m a good fit for this position?
If the interviewer is having doubts about you, asking this question will give you an opportunity to bring up some relevant facts about your previous experience that might just ease their doubts. Of course, foreseeing many of these doubts and preventing them from appearing in the first place is an even better strategy. And the tool to help you with that is a professionally composed resume. See an article on how to write an effective resume here.
#12 What is the next step in the hiring process?
Don’t be too pushy when asking about what to expect – you don’t want the employer to feel rushed. Sometimes they may need time to discuss your interview internally and finalize their decision, in which case they might not be able to give you a date. Simply asking “What’s the next step?” would be sufficient.
Ask your questions in a way that would require a detailed response as opposed to a YES/NO answer. Otherwise, you would find yourself asking too many questions, which might be a problem (read on to find out why).
To show that you are very interested in this job, demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. Start at least one of your questions with “I’ve read on your site that you….”, then ask for more details or clarification.
What Questions NOT TO ASK During Interview
While speaking of what to ask your interviewer, we’ve got to go over a few things that you should refrain from asking. These questions are big turn-offs, as they may present you in a way that will make you less attractive as a potential candidate for the position. No-no’s:
#1 So, what exactly is your company’s specialty?
Now, it may seem like a no-brainer, but asking questions that are already answered on the company’s website is one of the most frequent mistakes applicants make in job interviews. Do not do it! Be sure to read all the info about the company on their site. You may get a lot of the answers you want there. When the applicant asks about things that are clearly spelled out on the company’s site. It makes them look like they didn’t even bother to do basic research.
#2 When may you consider giving me a raise?
Even though the pay may be a big reason for you wanting this job, try not to show it. Don’t ask questions about bonuses, rewards or other types of compensation. It will make it look like the money is all you are interested in.
#3 How soon can I take a vacation?
Asking when you can take vacation or sick leave days, or what will happen if you don’t show up for work, raises red flags with the employer. They may suspect that you are going to be taking too much time off. And no employer would choose someone like that over other applicants who might be perceived as more reliable or diligent.
#4 So, how did I do?
We know you are curious about the outcome, but do not ask how the interview went right then. Your potential employer may need time to discuss your interview with other people on the team or company management, to compare your results with other applicants they may have interviewed, and to make their final decision. If you ask for their feedback now, it will be perceived as if you were rushing them with their decision. And that’s definitely a turn-off.
#5 Asking too many questions
If you ask too many questions about the company or the job, it may appear as if you came completely unprepared and did not do any research at all ahead of time. On the other hand, asking no questions makes you look uninterested, as well as unprepared too. How do you deal with this dilemma? The rule of thumb is to ask at least 2 questions. But no more than 3 or 4, as that would be enough to show your interest while keeping the interviewer from getting fed up with the interrogation.
Going over potential job interview questions and answers is what smart applicants do when preparing to meet with a potential employer. Following the above tips should help you leave a better impression. And may even give you an advantage over other candidates. Now all you have left to do is find some job openings to interview for. See our article on the best job search websites to help you out.