A job interview is, in many ways, like a first date. You and the company like each other, so you get together and talk to see if you want to continue the relationship. But, unlike a date, a job interview tends to be a bit lopsided, with the employer asking you a majority of the questions.
However, at the end of the job interview, you usually have the chance to ask the interviewer questions as well. Use this opportunity to ask questions that can help you learn more about the role, the company, and whether or not you’ll be happy at the job.
Questions to Ask in an Interview and Why You Should Ask Them
Though you may get many of your questions answered in the course of an interview, not asking any is a wasted opportunity. Not only is it your chance to learn more about the company and the role, it’s one more chance for you to impress the interviewer with thoughtful, insightful, and meaningful questions.
The company’s culture—what the company does, why it does it, and how the role contributes to the company’s success—is a crucial element of career satisfaction.
- What is the company’s culture like?
- How does this position contribute to the overall mission of the company?
- How long does the average employee stay here?
- What kinds of team events do you do?
- Is the work here typically more collaborative or independent?
- What’s different about working here compared to other places you’ve worked?
- What is your onboarding process?
Every company has a different method for structuring its teams. How those teams work with each other and how each team contributes to the company can give you a lot of information.
For example, many start-ups have a “flat” structure with small teams. So, if you’re interviewing for a job on the marketing team, you may find that you report directly to the founder/CEO, you’re in charge of all the social media, you create all the blog materials, and maybe do PR outreach, too.
On the flip side, companies with lots of teams or many management levels may have a prescribed career path for you. There might be specific performance goals you must achieve before you get a promotion or bonus. And, you may have a very narrow role that focuses strictly on one task or set of tasks.
- How does this role fit on the team?
- How does the team fit into the overall mission of the company?
- What are the team’s greatest strengths?
- What skills do you think the team is currently missing?
If you interview with your future boss, make sure you ask a few questions that help you get a better understanding of how they manage others and whether or not you would be comfortable with that style.
- How would you describe your management or leadership style?
- What things do you want me to accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job?
- What do you like about working here?
- What do you like about your team or direct reports?
- What do you like about your managers?
- How would you help me grow professionally and develop my career?
- How often do you meet with your staff to coach them or give performance feedback?
Of course, doing well in your role will help you thrive professionally. Before you accept the offer, make sure you have a clear understanding of how your performance will be measured, what kind of feedback you’ll get, and how often you’ll receive it.
- How do you measure performance and success?
- What does a typical day look like in this role?
- How often do you conduct formal performance reviews? Informal ones?
- How is feedback delivered? Is it in a written format or verbal?
- How do you reward those who go above and beyond?
- What happened to the last person in this role? Did they move on or get promoted?
Workplace flexibility is an increasingly sought after job perk. And though many companies say they are flexible, make sure you ask the right questions to help you gauge how much flexibility there is.
- What does it look like during the busy season or crunch time?
- Is overtime expected or allowed?
- What work arrangements seem to help staff do their best work?
The Company’s Future
Ideally, when you accept the role, you stay in it for many years or, at least as long as you want. Make sure you ask about the company’s status, too.
- What are the company’s current goals?
- What excites you about the company’s future?
- Where do you see the company heading in the next year? Five years?
- How does the company take an idea from start to finish?
- How many people have left the company recently? Joined?
- What are the biggest challenges the company and industry face?
Before any interview ends, you should have a clear idea of what comes next. But, in addition to asking your questions, give your interviewer one last chance to ask you questions.
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
- Where are you in the hiring process?
- Do you need anything else from me?
- Is there anything else I can tell you to help you with your decision?
- Can I answer any other questions for you?
Asking the Right Questions in Your Interview
The end of the interview is often your chance to ask any lingering questions and to learn more about the company and the position. And, knowing what questions to ask in an interview also helps you wow the interviewer with thoughtful and insightful inquiries that demonstrate you’re truly interested in the role.
Want to bounce your interview questions off a pro? Consider meeting with one of our career coaches. They can help you strategize which questions you should ask the interviewer to help you learn as much as you can about the role, practice mock interviewing, and much more.
By Rachel Pelta | February 12, 2021 | Categories: Work Remotely