Good Questions to Ask at an Interview

An interview isn't just about reciting well-rehearsed answers to common questions. It's a chance to build rapport, impress and gather information so you can find the right role. Here are a few smart questions to ask at a job interview.
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There are plenty of jobs out there right now, so how do you know if the role you’ve applied for is the right one for you? A great way to get find out is by asking the right questions at your interview.

 

An interview is a two-way street. It is just as important for you to be sure that a job is right for you, as it is for your potential employer. To this end, you should always be prepared before you arrive and have some good questions ready to ask your potential employer to help you to make an informed decision should you be offered the role.

 

Coming to your interview with prepared questions also signals to your interviewer that you are truly interested in this particular role rather than any role.

First interview questions

Sample interview question and answer

At first interview stage, you are asking questions to demonstrate your interest in the role, your drive to excel in the role and the fact that you’ve done some research on the company.

It is not appropriate at this stage to ask questions about salary and benefits; you are trying to demonstrate to the employer how you will benefit them not the other way around.

Use this opportunity to boost your chances of being offered the role.

  • Ask questions about multiple subjects – for example, if you only ask questions about your manager and their managerial style, the interviewer may assume you have an issue with authority figures. 
  • Ask questions about a variety of topics – this will demonstrate your curiosity and interest in all aspects of the position. Avoid “Yes” or “No” questions, instead, stick to questions that will create a dialogue between yourself and the employer.

Interview questions to ask an employer

Interview questions to ask an employer

The following questions are a good place to start when you’re preparing for your interview, feel free to use this list as a guide and adapt the questions as needed:

 

  • Tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this job? You are aiming to leave the interview with a clear picture of what the role looks like from day to day; the response to this question will also give insight into the specific skills and strengths needed so that you can address any that haven’t already been covered in the interview. 
  • What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role? This can give valuable information that’s not in the job description; it can help you learn about the company culture and expectations enabling you to demonstrate that you are a good fit. 
  • What are your expectations for this role during the first 30 days, 60 days, year? Find out what your employer’s expectations are for the person coming into this position.

Smart questions to ask an interviewer at in a job interview

  • Can you please describe the culture of the company? Make sure you are comfortable with the culture and the dynamic of the company and that it is a good fit with what is important to you. 
  • What do you like best about working for this company? Asking about your interviewer’s personal experience will give you additional insight into the company’s culture. 
  • Where do you think the company is headed in the next 5 years? If you plan to be in this role for several years, make sure the company is growing so you can grow with the company. 
  • What are the biggest opportunities facing the company/department right now? This question shows your drive to seize opportunity and may help you learn more about where the company will be focusing over the next several months.

Final interview questions to ask an employer

Final interview questions
  • What are the biggest challenges facing the company/department right now? This can help you uncover trends and issues in the industry and perhaps identify areas where your skills could help. 
  • What is the typical career path for someone in this role? This can help you learn whether the company promotes from within, and how career advancement works within the organisation. Phrase this carefully and make sure it doesn’t sound like you’re wanting to move on from the role before you’ve started. 
  • Is this post a new or existing one? This can help give you an idea of what’s expected of you, and can lead to a wider discussion. If it’s a new post, then you can ask why it’s been created and how your performance will be measured. If it’s an existing one, then ask who you’ll be replacing and what you will have to live up to.

While there’s no specific number of questions you should ask, two or three is usually enough. If that’s not enough to really find out about the company, ask the interviewer if they have the time to answer a few more, or follow up with an email later.

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