Questions to Ask in an Interview (Question List)
Asking questions to your interviewer during your interview can show that you have a passion for the business objectives. It can show your engagement in the conversation and build important chemistry between you and the interviewer that can lead to another round of interviews or a final job offer.
But how do you know what questions to ask? And what about the timing of these questions? It can be a great idea to be prepared with a few questions in advance. And use the right opportunity and timing in the interview to ask them.
Why is Asking Questions a Good Thing
Asking questions to your interviewer shows engagement in the conversation. Additionally, it shows your interviewer that you’re actively listening (link) to the conversation and using your creative thought process to comprehend what you’re being told.
This can be an effective way to show your interviewer that you understand business objectives, culture objectives, personal objectives, and much more.
Picture a conversation during a first date. If the other party on the first date didn’t ask you much or didn’t speak much in general. How would that make you feel? Most likely, it would make you feel like the other party didn’t want to be in attendance. And that may make you feel uncomfortable in the conversation.
How Many Questions Should You Ask
How many questions should you ask in your interview? You should have at least 5-8 questions prepared in advance. You might not have the opportunity to ask all of the questions you’ve prepared. But having more questions prepared than you need can help ensure that you have an applicable question to ask based on the active conversation.
When to Ask Questions
If you have a question that you think fits into the mold of conversation, you may feel compelled to jump in, interrupt the interviewer and ask your question. This will be disruptive to the conversation and won't feel natural. What you should do is write your questions on a notebook in advance of your interview, then reference your notes when there's a transition in the conversation.
A transition in the conversation will happen naturally. It occurs when the interviewer goes from telling you about the company, to the role, to asking questions about who you are. There will be small breaks in the conversation when these transitions occur and this is your opportunity to ask questions.
Lastly, toward the end of the interview session, there will be time for you to ask questions. This is normally a 5-10 minute amount of allotted time in the interview that the interviewer has designated for you. This could be a perfect time to ask your questions. Although, if your question is regarding a part of the conversation that was relatively early, you may want to recap parts of the discussion before asking your question. This will remind the interviewer of the discussion you had and make the question feel targeted to the session.
Questions About The Company
Below are questions you should be asking related to the company.
- Can you tell me about the founding story?
- I’d love to know more about the current CEO, what does he/she value most recently?
- How long has the company been around for?
- Where are all of the offices located?
- Is there any opportunity for relocation in the future?
- How long has the longest employee been here for?
- What is the direction of the company?
- What are some of the pillars or tenants for success with the company over the next year?
- What are some of the pillars of tenants for success with the company over then next five years?
- If the company were to compare itself to another competitor, who would it be?
- If the company were to compare itself to another company that wasn’t a competitor, who would it be?
- What are the companies 5-year goals?
- What are the companies 1-year goals?
- What are the goals of the company for this year?
- What are some things the company does well?
- What are some things the company doesn’t do well?
- How do we define success as a company?
- Who is our ideal customer?
- What is our ideal customer journey?
- What are the companies values?
- What are the companies ethics and morals?
Questions About the Role
Below are questions you can ask related to your role within the business.
- What does success look like in this role?
- How long was the previous employee in this role?
- What are some things you think could be improved with the role or responsibilities within the role?
- What are some critical mistakes to avoid within the role?
- Who do I report to?
- Who should I collaborate with frequently?
- Which department feels like they want more collaboration with this role than they’re receiving?
- What are some positive outcomes that you might expect from this role over the next 6 months?
- What are some positive outcomes that you might expect from this role over the next 12 months?
- What role can I develop into after a few years in this role?
- What are duties that you see this role doing that aren’t defined in the job description?
- What are some challenges with this role in particular?
- What advise would you give to someone starting this role?
- What advise would you give to someone starting this role after they’ve been in it for 90-days?
- What advise would you give to someone starting this role during their first 90-days?
- What does the day-to-day activities look like for this role?
Questions About Success in the Role
Below are questions you can ask related to the success of the role in particular.
- What does collaboration look like for this role?
- What are some mistakes I can avoid making for this role?
- What does success look like and how would you define it for this role?
- Who should I be speaking to more than not?
- What does a successful day look like for this role?
- What does a successful week look like for this role?
- What does a successful quarter look like for this role?
Questions About Departmental Collaboration
Below are questions related to collaboration between departments.
- Which department should our team be working with the most?
- Which department should we be speaking to more?
- Which department feels like they aren’t being heard right now?
- Which department can provide us the most insights to help drive success of our work?
- Which department should we be meeting with on a weekly basis?
- Which department should we be meeting with on a monthly basis?
- Which department should we be meeting with each quarter?
- Which department would our VP or CEO want us to be meeting with more often?
Questions About Your Colleagues
Below are questions you can ask related to your colleagues and driving success with them.
- How would you describe the current team?
- What are some things that could be improved about how the team works currently?
- What are some things the team does that are world-class and that you would hope never changes?
- What are some of the retrospective notes you’ve had recently?
- What do my colleagues wish this role could do more of?
- What do my colleagues wish this role could do less of?
- What competencies would you say we have “a lot of” when it comes to my colleagues or teammates?
- What competencies would you say we lack when it comes to my colleagues or teammates?
Questions to Ask About Culture
Below are questions you can ask related to company culture.
- How does our CEO define team collaboration?
- What are some of the company mantras that define the work culture?
- What pillars of work culture success does the company stand behind?
- How does the company handle conflicts?
- How does the company handle career development goals?
- What types of employee benefits do you offer?
- How much paid vacation time do you offer?
- Do you offer paid medical expenses?
- Do you offer compensation on personal health benefits like a gym membership or holistic healing doctors?
- What types of health insurance plans do you offer?
- How frequently do you perform employee assessments?
- How often do you promote internally?
Questions to Ask at the End of the Interview
These are some questions you can ask at the end of your interview to make sure there’s no missing information that your interviewer needs to assess the next steps in the hiring process.
- Have I answered all the questions that you have?
- What does the ideal candidate look like for this position?
- How has this position evolved over the years?
- Who will I be working with the most?
- If you had to give yourself advice, looking back to your first 90-days starting here, what would it be?
- Is there anything about my resume, background, or cover letter that you have a question about?
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