Questions to Ask at an Interview That Will Benefit You and Impress the Interviewer
Updated: Apr 1
A good interviewer will inevitably ask at the end of the interview, “Do you have any questions for me?”
Your answer to this is always: “Yes, I do.”
There a couple reasons to have ready questions for your interviewer. First of all, an interview is a conversation between two people, both of whom are trying to decide whether or not you, the candidate, are a good fit for a job/company. It’s not a one-sided discussion where the interviewer does the majority of the talking. If you run into that, you have either an inexperienced interviewer, or they are just going through the motions of interviewing and already have a candidate in mind. A good interviewer will be asking open questions that invites exchange.
The second reason you should always ask questions is it shows interest in the position and company. It can also be an opportunity to show your knowledge of the company and/or industry. Both of these can be the icing on your candidacy cake, impressing the interviewer as an applicant that really wants the job and has the abilities to be the perfect fit.
Before we move on to the questions you should ask, let’s mention a couple to avoid.
First, any questions about salary/wages. If the interviewer brings it up, it’s fine to mention your salary range. However, you should not be the one to broach the subject. It will make you seem like all you care about is the money or what you can get out of a job. Also avoid questions about benefits. Save these question for when you get an offer.
Next, avoid any question about the company that you could have googled. The interviewer will expect you to have done your own research. To ask a question you should or could have already found out about will make you seem uninformed or, worse, lazy.
Now for the right questions to ask….
First, ask any questions that will clarify anything already discussed in the interview or anything you are curious about. Then you can move onto of the following questions that seem appropriate.
What does the training for this position look like? For your own best interests, you should at the very least ask this question. It can tell you how much the company invests in setting their staff up for success. It also shows whether or not they have established training programs. If the training is minimal to non-existent, you have to ask yourself a few questions, such as: am I ready for a trial by fire by accepting this position? Do I want to work for a company that invests so little in their employees? Will I be able to meet expectations with this level of training?
Can you describe your ideal candidate for this position? This can tell you a great deal as to whether or not you would be a good fit for this position. The answer can go beyond the necessary skills and abilities needed to do the job and into the type of people the company likes to hire. It can also inform you about the company’s values.
What does the growth/career path of this position look like? Interviewers love this question because it shows you’re interested in a long term future with their company. For you, it again tells you how much they invest in their employees. Will they help with your growth/development? Do they promote from within? If you’re on a particular career path, it can help you determine if this position/company will help get you to where you want to be.
Could you give me an idea of what a typical day in this position is like? This question is a good one to ask if the position you’re applying for is different than anything you’ve done before. It can tell you what their expectations are and if the daily tasks are something you can handle. This question often leads to more questions/discussions so can provide a lot of information.
What do you like about working for this company? You can really get the interviewer talking with this one, and it can help build rapport. The interviewer’s answer and level of enthusiasm can express volumes about company’s culture and work environment. If the interviewer is excited to talk about the company, it’s a really good sign. If their response is flat and short, you may want to consider another company.
What current projects (products, services) is this position/team/department/company involved in? Hello, superstar! This will show interest in the position, the company and its growth, and how you can contribute. However, don’t expect much of an answer though. The interviewer may not know the specifics of individual projects or may be limited by privacy reasons.
Where do you see the company in five years? Similar in vein to the last two questions, it’ll show your interest in growth and the future. This question is especially poignant to ask a smaller company or a start-up. It can tell you a lot about where the company wants to go and if you want to follow that trajectory.
Is there anything about my background/skills/experience that concerns you? Seems a bold question? It is. Consider the benefit of asking such a question though. You get the opportunity to address these concerns and clarify your experience. You can also express your eagerness and willingness to learn new skills. By clearing up those concerns that the interviewer has, you move up their candidacy list.
There are many more questions that are a possibility to ask, and there’s no reason to ask every possible question. Stick with the ones that are the most relevant or that are of the most concern to you. You want to show that you’re engaged in the interview, interested in the position, and get the necessary information to determine if this job is the one for you. Consider the questions you want to ask before the interview, but be open to other possible questions as the interview progresses. Remember that an interview isn’t simply a memorization game of answers to the interviewer’s questions but an open exchange between people where information is passed back and forth.
Can you think of a valuable question to ask in an interview? Let us know in the comments!