Career Advice: Good Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

Posted on Scientific Staffing. 18 March, 2018

Towards the end of every job interview, the interviewer will turn to you and ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” Your response to this question is one of the most important moments in the interview – the part of the interview that you can own and direct to further a positive outcome.

If you don’t have any questions to ask, the interviewer will likely interpret this as an indication that you don’t have a high level of interest in the position, or that you didn’t do enough homework on the position, company, or industry to have come up with any questions. Either way, the impression you leave is not positive. Even worse, having no response to this question means you fail to capitalize on several important opportunities that it presents:

  • Demonstrate your interest in the position/company.
  • Learn more about the position/company to determine if it is a good fit for you.
  • Address any reservations the interviewer has about you.
  • Confirm and/or highlight your qualifications as a candidate for the position.
  • Build rapport with the interviewer.

In this blog, we will discuss some general guidelines to follow in asking your questions at the end of the interview, and also provide a number of sample questions for you to consider.

Guidelines for Asking Questions

Number of Questions

It’s usually best to plan on asking no more than 3 questions at your interview. Interviewers are usually on a tight schedule, and you want to respect their time. As some of these questions may be answered during the interview, prepare up to 5 questions ahead of time.

Avoid “What’s in it for me?” Questions

Avoid questions about vacation time, salary, benefits, and other what’s-in-it-for-me questions at this time – these questions are more appropriate for a human resources rep after you’ve been offered the position.

Avoid “Yes” or “No” Questions

Easy to answer questions or questions with simple answers are not engaging and can indicate a lack of research on your part. Stick to questions that will create a good dialog between yourself and the interviewer. You want to build rapport during the interview and demonstrate that you know enough to have an intelligent dialog about the company and/or position.

Avoid Asking Questions That You Can Answer Yourself

Questions that can be answered on the company’s website or by reading the job description reveal a lack of preparation for the interview.

Avoid Getting Too Personal

Questions that ask your interviewer to reveal aspects of their personal life are inappropriate. In addition, avoid questions about the interviewer’s family, race, gender, etc.

Ask Questions About Different Topics

Questions about a variety of topics (e.g., company culture, team you will be working with, company’s vision, technical questions, etc.) show curiosity in all aspects of the position. Asking questions about only one topic (i.e., your manager) may cause your interviewer to assume you have an issue about something.

Good Questions to Ask During Your Interview

Here are 12 questions you can ask during your interview that can help you capitalize on the opportunities discussed above:

1) Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications for this position?

This question takes some courage to ask, but it also shows that you are confident in your skills and abilities. It also allows you to follow up and actually address the concerns that the interviewer may have.

2) What skills and experiences do you think would make an ideal candidate?

Similar to the previous question, this question will let you know exactly what the employer is looking for in a candidate. If they mention something that you have not addressed in the interview previously, now is the time.

3) What constitutes success in this position and company?

This question demonstrates that you have interest in being successful in your job. It also helps you understand how to succeed at the position, and whether the position is a good fit for you.

4) Where do you think the company is headed over the next several years?

This question shows you have interest in the company and are looking for a long-term position. The answer you get will help you determine what kind of growth opportunity you have with the company.

5) What are the company’s (or your team’s) biggest challenges right now, and how can I help address them in this position?

Every employer wants to have proactive employees who try to understand and solve problems. This question demonstrates that you will be this kind of employee. Ask follow up questions to gather as much information as you can and demonstrate your interest in solving company problems.

6) Can you tell me about the person or people who previously held this position and why they left?

While this question may be uncomfortable to ask, it gets right to the heart of the matter. If this is a company you want to work for, you will like the answer.

7) Can you tell me about the team I will be working with in this position?

This question helps you gather information about the people you will be working with and can help you decide if the position is the right fit for you.

8) What personal qualities do you feel are most necessary for the success of the person in this position?

This question helps you determine if your personality is a good fit for the position.

9) Can you describe for me what a typical day on the job would look like?

This question demonstrates eagerness for the position and helps you learn as much as possible about the role so you can decide whether this is a job you really want.

10) What would you say is the biggest challenge or complaint employees have with the company?

An interview is a two-way street, and this question helps you gather important information about the company. If you sense the interviewer is not being candid, this does not bode well for the company. A quality company will have no problems candidly discussing their challenges and will confidently communicate with you about them.

11) What have you personally enjoyed most and also least about working here?

This question can help to build rapport and allows the interviewer to connect with you on a personal level by speaking about things that are close to their hearts. It also gives you valuable information about the company that helps you determine if you really want the job.

12) What are the next steps in the interview process?

This essential last question communicates your eagerness to move forward and helps you gather the information necessary to follow up appropriately.

Conclusion

A job interview is a two-way street – it is a conversation. As such, you should not be shy about asking probing questions during your interview to help determine if the job and company are the right fit for you. The process of asking your interviewer questions completely changes the dynamic of the interview and has the potential to significantly add to a hiring manager’s positive perception of you. Don’t pass up this important opportunity by staying silent!

About the Author

Richard Zepeda is the Managing Director of Astrix Technology Group’s Staffing Division, focusing in the Scientific field. Since 2006, Astrix has grown from a regional to a nationwide firm working with Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and all in-between. A born and raised Chicago native, Richard joined Astrix in 2017 where he is tasked with the next level growth of the Chicago market. With a 20+ year history of successfully connecting top companies with the best talent, Richard is a staffing leader who managed teams for Robert Half International, Spherion, and Comsys, to name a few.

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