What Questions to Ask in an Interview
Everyone expects to be questioned during an interview, but not everyone realizes that they should be asking questions as well.
It’s important for candidates to ask questions because it shows that they are interested and prepared. If a candidate doesn’t ask questions during an interview, the interviewer may come to one of several conclusions, including the candidate:
- Did not care enough to prepare questions beforehand.
- Did not take the time to think about what they are looking for in the job.
- Is not committed to the position they are applying for.
How Many Questions Should I Ask?
Some swear that three is the golden number because it saves time. Others say that you should ask more than three to show you are committed and care about the job.
The real answer is — it depends.
When asking questions, context is everything. Let's take a look at some factors that affect the number of questions you should ask:
Does the interviewer seem fidgety? Have they mentioned they are short on time today?
What position you're applying for
While a candidate applying for a high-level position might need to ask several questions about workplace infrastructure, this could be overkill for a candidate applying for an entry-level position.
The rapport between you and your interviewer
If you and your interviewer are getting along well, asking a few informal questions may be appropriate.
The round of the interview you are on
The stage of the interviewing process you are in matters.
Be wary of interviewers who expect you to accept a job offer without answering all of your questions. No good employer will want you to take on a job you aren't fully committed to or informed about.
What Makes a Great Question?
Not all questions are created equal. A great question will:
Demonstrate an understanding of the company
Asking questions that demonstrate an understanding of the company shows the interviewer that you have kept up with them and want to better understand their business.
Highlight your positive attributes
Asking interviewers questions that highlight your positive attributes will help call their attention to where you excel.
Show your commitment
By asking questions with a long-term relationship in mind, you are communicating that you are ready to invest yourself in the right job.
Help you stand out
Interviewers talk to hundreds of applicants. Use this time as an opportunity to stand out.
Give you information you couldn't find elsewhere
Learning more about the position you're applying for helps you make an informed decision.
While the above qualities are essential factors of a great question, context matters here. Understand who is interviewing you. Also, consider where you are in the interviewing process and adjust your questions accordingly. Finding as much information as you can before the interview will help you strategize which questions you should ask.
Is There Such a Thing as a Bad Question?
Now that we know what makes a great question, you may be wondering if there is such a thing as a bad question. The answer is YES!
Bad questions can raise red flags for an interviewer and drastically reduce your chance of getting the job you're interviewing for.
Here are some bad question types to avoid:
Questions about salary
Salary information is typically handled by the HR department.
Questions about references or background checks
Asking the interviewer any question about references or background checks is likely to raise a red flag.
Questions about promotions
Asking questions about promotions can make you seem arrogant.
Refraining from asking bad questions can be difficult because they are often the questions you are most interested in. If you make it through the interview process, you will get your answers in due time.
Great Questions Separated by Topic
Now that you know more about the difference between a great question and a bad one, let's look at some great question examples separated by topic:
Challenges and Expectations of the Position
- What are the top priorities to accomplish in this role?
- What would you expect a successful candidate to achieve or deliver in the first 3-6 months here?
Company Culture, Growth and Challenges
- Can you share a little bit about the culture of this company?
- What type of people thrive in this company's environment?
Information About the Interviewer
- In your opinion, what is the best part about working for this company?
- Why did you join the company?
Leadership and Management
- What led you to pursue a career in this industry?
- What do you wish you had known before joining the company?
- What is the next step in the interview process?
- What is the general timeline of your recruitment process?
- What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
- What is the typical career path for someone in this role?
- What is the onboarding process like for new hires?
- How would you describe a typical day or week in this position?
- What has been your team's greatest accomplishment?
- What are some of the team's recent success stories?
- Will I have the opportunity to work with any cutting-edge tools, technologies, or methods?
- What tools are used to share information across departments?
Like what you see? More questions in each of these categories are provided in the premium version of the training program.
Exiting the Interview
Typically, the interview draws to a close after the question portion of the process is completed. When exiting the interview, there are a few things you should do:
This is just a preview of the actual Questions to Ask the Interviewer Guide. We've outlined some necessary information here but go into much more detail in the real thing. Here is the information we cover in more detail:
- Why it’s important to ask the right questions in an interview.
- How asking bad questions or no questions can ruin an interview.
- An extensive list of great questions you can ask!
Getting access to the tools and information you need to interview successfully and get the job you want is as easy as becoming a member of MyInterviewPractice.com.