When you're sitting in front of a hiring manager during a job search, you need to be able to answer their questions well. However, there's another part of the process that you should be prepared for. It's essential to ask things yourself, so you need to have a few questions ready to ask in an interview.
The reality is that the questions you choose matter. You don't want to ask the same thing as every other applicant does. You have a much better chance of being hired when you nail a few unique and interesting questions.
This guide will explain why good interview questions are essential, provide you with various questions to use, and offer tips that will help you land the position you want.
Why You Should Prepare Good Questions to Ask in an Interview
So why is it essential to have good interview questions to ask an employer? Based on a survey by CareerBuilder, about half of candidates who pass a phone interview or screening are eliminated from the hiring process due to a poor in-person interview.
But that won't be an issue for you when you prepare a few good questions to ask an interviewer. You'll have a wide selection of interview questions to ask an employer and, in the process, prove that you deserve to be a part of the company.
Simply preparing questions is probably more important than you could imagine. In truth, most job applicants throw out a question or two at the end of an interview.
The problem is that most of the questions show less care and curiosity. When you show up and ask interesting questions, you immediately stand out. It could be the difference between getting a position or having to keep up the job search.
Choosing the best questions to ask during an interview can be challenging. Not everyone has the creativity to come up with inquiries on the fly. This guide will give you tons of questions that you can use in your next interview. Read on to find a few for your upcoming interview.
18 Smart Questions to Ask During an Interview
Coming in with unique interview questions to ask an employer is a great way to stand out. Having a decent list of questions in your head will give you insight into the job that might not otherwise be possible. Knowing what to ask in an interview is just as important as knowing how to answer questions thrown your way.
Below, you'll see questions to ask the interviewer to understand better whether the job is right for you. Armed with a set of questions to ask after an interview, you set yourself up to appear professional and interested in the position you applied for.
The questions in this section are broken down into types so you can find the questions that best meet your needs.
Interview Questions About the Interviewer or Colleagues
One of the biggest challenges in the hiring process is the interview. Show you're the ideal candidate for the position by engaging the person who gives you the interview. Learn more about their favorite part of working for the company or what their management style is. These can provide insight into whether the job is right for you.
1. How long have you been with the company?
This question might seem uninteresting, but it can give you a lot of information. Firstly, you can see how long it took this person to reach their role. It also clues you into whether people tend to stick around in the company for several years. If the interviewer has been at the company for a while, that says good things about the business.
2. What did you do before this?
Asking this is another way to learn more about the company. Was the interviewer doing something totally different before? Then maybe the team takes risks when hiring. Is this a move into the same type of position? The job could pay better or offer better benefits and perks than similar roles at other companies in the area.
3. What is your favorite part of working here?
The worst answer you can get here is an answer that seems insincere. If the answer appears genuine, it can give you an idea of what the company does best. Even if you won't be in the same position as the interviewer, many parts of companies will remain the same at some level. This also helps you get the interviewer in a good mood and thinking about enjoyable things, which can't hurt your chances of getting the job.
Interview Questions About the Specific Position
You want to make sure you speak with the recruiter about the position during the interview process. As a new hire, you want to know more about your day-to-day responsibilities, team members, or even why the last person left the position. Once you've moved past the job application phase, try asking some of the questions below.
1. What does a typical day on the job look like?
Why ask this question? Because it gives you insight into what expectations the employer has for you. You can see if the position will be a good fit or if the tasks required of you are outside of your skills and passions. Understanding a typical day gives you insight into specific requirements of you and others who might be on your team.
2. What are the most critical projects that need to be addressed in this role?
While the day-to-day responsibilities are essential to be aware of, this question goes deeper. The answer to the question lets you know what things are of the most importance currently. You show the interviewer you care about their needs while also giving you the chance to share that you can be a great addition to projects that need to be done immediately.
3. Is this a new role that has been created?
With this question, you can determine whether the role is new and necessary for some specific reason. If the answer is no, this can lead to a question about why the last employee left the company. This gives you the chance to get more information on what the position might be like for you and how vital your work will be.
Interview Questions About Culture and Values
Asking great questions about the company culture at the end of the interview can let you better envision your role. These questions relate to the culture, like the work environment, the types of people you'll work with, and how structured or independent the workplace is. This can help you see if you'd fit in well with other workers.
1. Would you describe the work environment as more independent or collaborative?
Some people prefer to work independently while others enjoy working with other people. The answer to this question will indicate whether the team is closer to your preferences. You can take the response and use it to decide whether this is a place where you can thrive and feel good about what you do.
2. Does anyone on the team spend time together outside of the office?
If you like spending time with colleagues, knowing team members get along well enough to hang out elsewhere can be good. It shows that things don't get tense enough in the office for people to leave it all behind when the day is over. Even if you aren't the most social person, knowing others hang out away from work may mean the position is pleasant for most workers.
3. How has the company changed in your time here?
All companies change over time – but it can be for the worse or, the better. With COVID-19, any business that didn't change may not have lasted. Listen to the answer to get an idea of what direction things have moved in over the manager's time there. In many cases, you can apply that knowledge to know what to expect for the future.
Interview Questions About Team Dynamics and Relations
When you consider what questions to ask in a job interview, make sure you learn more about how teamwork is handled. What is a typical day with a team like? Will you have a good work-life balance? A job posting won't answer those questions, but you can subtly get an idea of an answer through the questions below.
1. Can I have more information about the team I will be working with?
This question digs into the other people you might spend time with. If the manager seems happy to talk about them and how you'll work with them, that can be a good sign. If they dodge the question or seem unsure, this can signify that something isn't great within the team. It's up to you to decide if that matters if you are asked to join the company.
2. To whom will my direct reports be?
Will you have one supervisor? Several? This question lets you know more about the dynamics of your team. It can also give you an idea of whether you'll be micromanaged or given more freedom to work creatively. There's no wrong answer to this question, but your preferences will determine whether the answer is correct for you and your personality.
3. Which other departments will my team be working with regularly?
Sometimes, teams work primarily on their own. Most of the time, they collaborate with other departments. However, the departments may vary based on the company and position. This gives you an idea of the people you will be around every day. It can help you get acclimated more quickly if you take the job since you know what to expect.
Interview Questions About the Business, Company, or Organization
Your questions for the interviewer are essential when deciding whether to take a new job. This section of questions focuses on the business itself and gives information about how it runs and what company values are prioritized. If you have interviews for several companies, the one with the best answers might be a good choice.
1. Can you tell me more about the founding of the company?
At this point, you should have done some research on the company and know what its website and social media have to say. However, seeing what the person hiring you knows can give you even more insight. If they don't seem to know much, it might not be a company where people are proud to work. On the other hand, excitement about this question is a great sign.
2. What current goals are the company working toward, and how would my team help you reach them?
Knowing what the company is working towards gives you the ability to jump into things if you are hired. This is a great question to ask to find out more about how the company is doing and what direction things are going in. By asking how your team could help if you were hired, you can also get direct information about what the position will be like. This can guide you on whether you take a job or not.
3. What are you most excited about regarding the business' future?
This question is great to learn more about how the company is preparing for the future. Are things going well in some way? The answer will give you insight into that. If the manager interviewing you doesn't seem excited about their response, this could mean that things aren't going well or the place isn't a place they enjoy spending their workdays. These are all things to consider moving forward.
Interview Questions About Professional Development and Training
When it comes to the best questions to ask an interviewer, training and professional development information is an excellent place to start. You can find out which career path you might want, discuss the process for a performance review, and see if the company offers career advice moving forward.
1. What type of training programs are available to employees?
This question is good since it lets you know what opportunities are available to you both as a new worker and a more experienced one. If the person interviewing you doesn't have an answer, that might be a bad sign about the training process. The right employer will be able to walk you through the initial training program and any other training options you might have in the future.
2. Will there be opportunities for professional development or advancement?
If you want to move up in a company, this question is necessary. It gives you information about whether that will be possible or you'll be stuck in one role. The best companies will have a system for promotions and professional development to keep you from getting bored doing the same thing each day. See how the answer lines up with your expectations.
3. Where have other successful employees in this position progressed?
This question is similar to the one above but focuses more on past employees and how they've paved a path into higher positions. Based on the hiring manager's answer, you will be able to tell if there are opportunities to become an integral part of the business. If they seem to have trouble answering this question, promotion likely isn't something that typically occurs in this role.
Interview Questions About Steps to Come
There are many good questions for an interview to ask of an employee. However, the potential employer should also be asked final questions at the end of an interview. When you inquire about upcoming steps, you'll know what to expect moving forward, whether a subsequent interview, a background check, or a skills test.
1. What are the next steps in the interview process?
The reason to ask this question might be apparent already. Knowing what steps are coming next lets you prepare for them. The right employer will be able to quickly answer this question with what else you'll need to do to impress them and get the job. If the interviewer stumbles on this question, the company might not be as organized as you want.
2. Is there anything in my background that concerns you about being a good fit for the role?
This question is a great way to determine if you're already being considered for the position or not. It also gives you a chance to explain away any concerns if they are present. Once you know what an employer is worried about, you can give them all the reasons they need to consider you. It's a win-win for everyone involved.
3. Can I answer any final questions for you?
You've reached the end of the interview, and now is the time to prepare for whatever comes next. After you ask other questions you might have, this puts the ball in the manager's court. If something you've asked brings up additional questions, this gives them a final chance to ask. And if not, you can leave knowing you had the best interview you could.
5 Extra Tips to Keep in Mind When Preparing & Asking Your Questions
Having good questions to ask the interviewer is a place to start. However, you also need to consider other things when you have the chance to bring in questions. Use the above interview questions to ask an employer, but follow the tips below. The two will give you the best chance of a successful interview and a potential new job with an excellent salary and benefits.
Read over the tips below once you've decided on the best questions to ask in an interview. These will help you ask good questions and do so in a way that will impress the person who interviews you. Some of the tips might seem like common sense, but you'll show how professional you are and why you'd be an asset in the position you applied for when you put them all together.
Tip #1: Be Professional and Avoid Improper Questions
Interviewees want to ask professional questions about the job. If the question fits that criteria, feel free to ask it. This includes not making it evident that the main reason you want the job is for the money.
Questions regarding promotions, salaries, perks, and benefits should wait for a later date. When sitting in an interview room, these are not the best things to ask when sitting in an interview room. You should also probably avoid any other questions that you are unsure about. Keep it professional and relevant, and you'll do just fine.
Tip #2: Don't Ask Questions You Have Answers To
If you can easily find information in the job description or the company website, don't ask a question about it. This applies to things like company culture, which businesses may provide information about on their websites. If you ask questions that have easily accessible answers elsewhere, it might make you seem disinterested.
The worst thing you can do is make it seem like you didn't prepare or research before the interview. Take time to look over the company website, LinkedIn, and other social media, and take a second look at the job description before your interview.
Tip #3: Make Sure Your Questions Are Specific
Some employers might find it a red flag if all the questions you ask are vague. You want to be sure the things you ask are relevant to the business and not simply questions you could ask in an interview for any organization. Think the questions through and make them specific to the position you want and the company you are interviewing under.
If you can't find a way to make the question specific, it might be best to choose a different question. An employer wants to see that you're serious about the interview and have good questions to ask. It lets them get an idea of what matters to you and how you would fit in.
Tip #4: Don't Ask Too Many Questions
The interviewer's time is just as important as your own, so you don't want to get overly eager and ask too many questions. A few questions are fine but don't go overboard. Usually, two to three questions are common, but you can add more if the questions are answered quickly.
Regardless of how many questions you have, keep it to under five in most cases. You can get a lot of good information while respecting the time of the hiring manager you're speaking with. Consider what questions are the most important and prioritize those.
Tip #5: Take the Next Steps Once You Leave
Once the interview is over, there's more to do than wait for a call or email. After you get home, make sure you send a thank you email after the interview. This shows that you appreciate the time made for you and are still interested in the position. It's a simple gesture that often means a lot, especially when it's rarer nowadays.
Key Takeaways on the Best Interview Questions to Ask
Asking the right questions can give you an idea of whether you want to take a job offer or not if you have the option. Preparing the best questions to ask during an interview is just as important as practicing the answers you will give to the person interviewing you.
Take your time to answer and be thoughtful about both answers and questions. Using your best judgment to determine how many questions to ask will help the process. If you follow the tips above and use some of the questions to guide you, you could be taking one of the final steps to getting the position you want!