Many people think about job interviews as one-sided. The potential employer is interviewing you, and asking you the questions. However, one of the most important things to keep in mind during your job search process is that job interviews are also an opportunity for you to interview the potential employer.
An interview is a unique chance to get a feel for the company culture, find out what marks success for the position or role you’ve applied for, and connect with the interviewer on a deeper level. Ultimately, it’s an opportunity for you to stand out as a four-dimensional person and professional beyond what they’ve seen from your resume.
One of the most common interview questions comes towards the end of the interview: “Do you have any questions for me/us?” But as common as it is, it’s also usually the question that people are the least prepared for. The secret is that the questions you ask, how insightful and thoughtful you are, and how genuinely interested you appear to be during this part of the interview can really set you apart from other candidates. There are many different kinds of questions you can ask, and while you probably won’t have time to ask all of them, you should choose a few that you feel are most important and will best inform your decision. You might even be able to combine some of them and save time!
Below, we share some of the best questions you can and should ask in job interviews.
Questions about the job itself
- Can you tell me about the last person who held this job and about some of their successes?
- What would the first day of this job look like for the person who is hired for the role?
- What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?
- What traits and attributes does a person need to be truly successful in this job?
- What are the biggest challenges that the person in this position would be facing?
Questions about professional development
- What training programs and professional development programs are available to employees here?
- What can you tell me about opportunities for professional development and advancement within the company?
Questions about personal success and performance
- What is the standard for success here and how would the person in this role be evaluated?
- What has differentiated the people who have been good at this job and the people who have been great at it?
- How often are performance reviews and what is the performance review process like?
Questions about the interviewer
- How long have you been with the company?
- How has your role changed since you’ve worked here or how have you grown professionally here?
Questions about the company
- What are the company’s plans for growth?
- What do you love most about the company?
- How does the team work together to support the company’s goals?
Questions about the team you’d be working with
- Can you tell me about the team the person in this role would be working with?
- Who would the person in this role directly report to? Would there be any direct reports to the person in this role?
- What are the teams’ greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Questions about the culture
- What is the company and team culture like?
- What do people in the office usually do for lunch?
- What does the team do for professional development and/or team bonding?
Questions about the field/work
- What is your favorite part of working in (field)?
- What is the most important thing you’ve learned as a (title)?
Questions about next steps
- Are there any doubts or concerns that you have about my experience or qualifications that I might be able to clear up?
- Can I answer any final questions for you?
- What are the next steps in the interview process and when can I expect to hear back?
Ask the questions that you care about the most. There’s no point in asking questions you think that you should care about if they won’t give you useful information that will help you assess if the job truly is a good fit for you. While the questions that you ask should be thoughtful and relevant enough to impress the person interviewing you, don’t waste this opportunity asking questions solely to impress. Don’t get stuck asking questions that you think will reflect well on you as opposed to questions that you truly want to know the answers of.
Spend time before your interview thinking about what you really want to know about the company, the role, and the work, and then choose some questions that matter most to you. And remember that those questions might change and expand as the interview process goes on. Some might be answered during the interview. Some may no longer be relevant. New questions that arise from comments or new information may come up. Allow yourself to go with the flow of the interview, and at the end, ask the questions that feel like they really matter, and you’ll walk away feeling like you’ve had a valuable conversation.
All the best