Learning what questions to ask in an interview is a surefire way to show your interviewer that you’re genuinely interested in the role you’re applying for. However, that’s not the only reason you should prepare some questions before you talk to your potential employer.
Remember that during an interview you’re not the only one being evaluated. You’re also assessing what sort of organization you’re about to join and what types of people you’ll be working with. Also, you need to ask questions to find out more about the job and what plans your potential employer has for you once they decide whether they should hire you or not.
When an interviewer asks if you have any questions, it’s a clear sign that the interview is about to end, and you’ll have limited time to satisfy your curiosities regarding the company. Consequently, you’ll need to prepare at least two or three questions beforehand. It will prove that you’ve done your homework, meaning you’ve researched the company, industry, and department you’re interested in.
Pro Tip: Avoid “yes” or “no” questions and avoid questions that are so broad that they are difficult to answer. You don’t want to stump the interviewer when you’re trying to make a good impression and develop rapport.
If you’d like to see some proven examples of good questions to ask in an interview, check out this list that we’ve prepared for you.
What Questions to Ask in an Interview
It’s important to consider what interests you the most about the company position you’re interviewing for and then figure out the questions you need to ask depending on the industry you’re looking to work in. There are some general questions you can ask that apply to all industries but there are some key differences between them.
Also, some, if not most, employers will invite you to partake in multiple interviews, so you’ll need to prepare questions for each of them. What should you ask an HR representative, a hiring manager, or a CEO? Furthermore, what if you’ll be attending an international remote interview or a panel interview? Are there entirely different questions you’ll need to ask in those situations? Let’s find out.
Great questions to ask at the end of the interview
These insightful questions are great to ask in interviews when applying for jobs in any industry. They’re designed to help you find out essential information such as what results are expected of you in a certain amount of time, how the interviewer has grown during their time at the company, why the position is open, and if there are ample advancement opportunities for employees.
It’s a good idea to inquire about as many details as possible, go in-depth with your questions and, why not, ask the interviewer what they think about the company. Chances are, you’ll get a sincere answer and you’ll gain more insight into the organization you’re interested in.
1. What’s the best thing you’ve learned while working here?
This question might take the interviewer by surprise. Hopefully, it will be a pleasant surprise because it encourages them to share the unique experiences they’ve had during their time with the company. Their answer will also allow you to hear some truly remarkable stories and insights about the team and the organization.
On the other hand, if your interviewer seems hesitant or nervous about answering the question, that can give you some insight into whether or not the company has a positive work environment. Pay close attention to how they answer.
2. Why is this position open?
Understanding why the company decided to open the role is critical since you can learn whether the previous employee quit, was laid off, or the company is expanding to capitalize on a new market. With this information, you’ll get a feel for how you’ll need to function once you’re hired to either avoid any mistakes your predecessor has made, detect any red flags within the company, or start researching ways to conquer that new market!
3. Who would not be a good fit for this company?
Although most candidates will be focused on learning how to be a good fit for a company, you’ll have an ace up your sleeve with this question and can figure out what traits wouldn’t fit well in the company’s culture. Based on the answer, you’ll have a better idea if this role is for you or not.
4. Are there advancement opportunities at your company?
You’ll definitely want an answer to this one. Are people in the role you’re applying for being promoted to more senior internal positions?
Every candidate should factor growth trajectory into their decision. Will you be promoted internally or will you need to look for advancement opportunities elsewhere?
Questions to ask in an interview with a hiring manager
The hiring manager will typically be your supervisor or manager if you’re chosen for the role you’re applying for. They identify the needs, create the job descriptions, and work in sync with the HR department. They’re also the ones who set expectations and processes for qualifications and interviews.
Asking a hiring manager questions at the end of the interview will guarantee that you learn more about the position you want.
5. Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
Choosing this as one of the questions to ask in an interview gives you the chance to learn as much as possible about the role so you can decide whether this is a job you really want. By learning more about the day-to-day tasks, you will also gain more insight into what specific skills and strengths are needed, and you can address any topics that haven’t already been covered.
6. What goals would you set for me over the next 6 months?
You’ll want to look good in front of the hiring manager. Asking about what you’ll need to achieve in the first 6 months shows that you’re results-driven and that you’ll prioritize the success of the company over your own. It’s a great way to make a strong impression.
7. Do you expect the primary responsibilities of this role to change in the next six months to a year?
This is another great question to ask in an interview to get a feel for the lay of the land when it comes to their vision for your position and how it may grow. It is best to be armed with as much information as possible when considering accepting a position, and questions like this one will be invaluable to you as you navigate that decision.
8. A year from now when you’re looking back on this hire, what would I have done to exceed every expectation?
This question shows the hiring manager that you’re focused on getting things done and that you will give it your all to prove that you have what it takes to be a part of the company. You’ll also find out what success looks like and then be able to create a plan and make it happen.
Questions to ask in an interview with hiring managers across multiple industries
Not all hiring managers are the same. Their requirements mostly depend on the industry they’re working in. Here are the best questions to ask hiring managers across multiple industries:
9. What would you say are the biggest challenges your sales team faces? (Sales)
You’ll probably get a clear answer once you get the job, but nonetheless, the hiring manager should provide some examples of specific obstacles that members of the sales team have overcome over the years.
10. Typically, what is the ramp-up period for new sales representatives? (Sales)
The job ad probably states the base salary, but what you’ll really be asking is how soon you’ll be earning enough commission for all your hard work to pay off. If there’s a formal training process you’ll also want to know how soon a new sales rep usually goes out in the field and potentially closes sales.
11. What are the overall objectives of the CS function and the core strategies for achieving those objectives? (CSM)
Inquiring about the objectives that you must complete is a great way of showing the interviewer that you’ll already be prepared to overcome any obstacles the job might present. It will also denote that you’ll have already researched how to accomplish those objectives before your first day.
Asking about the core strategies will have a similar effect since access to that kind of information will help you proactively put together a clear plan of action.
12. What would a typical customer look like and how would a CSM interact and work with that customer? (CSM)
Knowing your average customer is a must for any CSM. A hiring manager will appreciate you wanting to find out who you’ll be helping during your job. This question will give you the opportunity to gain insight into the company’s customer base.
13. How many attorneys will I be reporting to? (Paralegal)
It’s important to know the amount of work you’ll be doing if you get hired and compare that to the pay you’ll receive. This question might show the interviewer that you’re interested in the role, but most importantly, it will help you assess whether it’s worth joining that particular law firm. If you’re not afraid of hard work and working overtime, however, the more attorneys you’ll be reporting to, the merrier.
14. What is the annual or monthly billable hour requirement? (Paralegal)
This question will let you know how many mandatory hours you’ll have to put in at the law firm you want to work for. Why is it important to know this? Because even though the company’s time is precious, so is yours. More so, you’d want to know if you can fill the quota and what happens if you don’t. You could follow this question up by asking if all of their paralegals easily meet the billable hour requirement.
Questions to Ask an Interviewer about the Company
The company being a good fit is just as important as liking the daily responsibilities of your job. Will you feel supported? Do your values align? Do you agree with their policies and treatment of employees? These are all important things to discover when you are thinking through questions to ask in an interview.
15. What’s the company culture like?
Are you a good fit for this particular organization? Make sure you are comfortable with the culture and the dynamic of the company.
16. 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.
17. Who do you consider your top competitor, and why?
You should already have an idea of the company’s major competitors, but it can be useful to ask your interviewer for their thoughts. Naturally, they will be able to give you the insight you can’t find anywhere else.
Questions to Ask a CEO in an Interview
When you’re trying to get a job in any industry, chances are you’ll go through more than one interview. Some job interviews are first conducted over the phone or via email, then you’ll speak to the heads of the department you want to join, and finally, once you’ve successfully passed all of the previous steps, you’ll be interviewed by the company’s CEO or Chief Executive Officer.
They will have the final decision on whether you’ll be hired or not, so needless to say, you’ll want to impress this person the most. You might think that this interview is just a formality, but don’t be fooled. The CEO didn’t become a leader by accident. They’ve earned their place through hard work, meticulous decision-making, and skill.
After you’ve answered the questions that the leader of the organization has for you, they will ask you if you have any questions of your own. As shown in this article, this is an important step in the hiring process, so you’ll need to prepare those questions beforehand.
What are some of the most important questions to ask a CEO in an interview? Let’s find out:
18. How does communication happen between senior management and other levels?
The key to a successful business is efficient communication between all departments regardless of how big or small they are. That’s mainly because each department is like a cog in a machine that can only function correctly when well-oiled. Who does the oiling? Mainly the decision-makers a.k.a. department heads and, of course, the CEO.
By making sure that communication between senior management and the other levels is done efficiently, you’ll know that you’ll be joining an organization that’s transparent with its employees. Consequently, the workers will have the information necessary to do a good job.
Whether you’re applying to be a senior-level employee or a junior, this question is a must.
19. Where do you see the company expanding or focusing its efforts in the next few years?
This is always an important question to ask a CEO because it will give you the chance to learn about what the company is planning to do in the near future. Will you feel confident in joining this journey that the company is about to embark on or would you prefer to concentrate your efforts on going in a different direction? The CEO’s reply will help you answer those questions.
20. I want to join a certain department. How do you see its role in the company’s growth?
Getting to the bottom of why the department you’re about to join is important when considering the company’s growth may give you an idea of how to best use your abilities towards aligning with its goals for the future.
Preparing to Ask Questions in an Interview
The questions above are great to have on hand at the end of the interview. However, you won’t have time to ask all of them. You wouldn’t want to extend the interview by another half hour because for an interviewer time is of the essence. Who knows how many more candidates they need to talk to?
Choose about 5 or 6 questions that you really want to be answered, write them down, and start practicing your delivery. You can either record yourself on your phone as you speak or go old-school and practice in front of a mirror.
Remember to speak clearly, and try to avoid using too many filler words such as “anyway”, “like”, “you know”, or “basically”. You’ll also want to limit your pauses and keep a constant pace of speech.
There are plenty of ways to practice asking questions like a pro including Big Interview’s Mock Interview Simulator. It’s easy to use and it has a cool Artificial Intelligence Feedback feature that analyzes your videos.
Just log in to Big Interview, click or tap the ‘Practice’ button, and select ‘Practice Interview’ to use the Mock Interview Simulator.
Then choose what you want to practice. Let’s begin with ‘General’. It’s the best place to start.
You have a ton of interviewers to choose from but for now, we’ll go with Stacey.
After a few short calibrations to make sure the A.I. is functioning correctly, you’ll be able to start being interviewed. To practice the questions that you’ll ask your interviewer, simply select ‘Do you have any questions for me?’ out of the list of 10 questions and you’ll be ready to start recording.
When you’re done, the A.I. Feedback feature will analyze your video. Make sure you record for more than 40 seconds to allow the A.I. to properly assess your pace of speech, vocabulary, pauses, authenticity, and even your volume and lighting in case you have a video interview coming up.
As you can see, the pace of speech is just right, but the number of ‘ums’ or ‘uhs’ used is a bit high. Also, the language is too simple. Spice it up with more sophisticated words, but remember to maintain a balance between sophisticated and simple language. You’ll want your speech to be accessible to everyone.
Limiting your filler words to 0, utilizing a lot of power words, and avoiding long pauses is recommended as well. You should also try sounding authentic, and using a positive tone of voice.
Questions to Ask in an Interview: Final Thoughts
When you are thinking about questions to ask in an interview, remember that your goal is to appear like someone who has done their research on the company, is enthusiastic about the position, and is eager to get started.
You don’t want to raise any red flags or sow seeds of doubt or negativity about your qualifications or professionalism.
To help avoid this, when it comes to questions to ask in an interview, you should not ask about salary and benefits just yet.
Wait until you are in the final steps of the interview process to negotiate your compensation package with the hiring manager or HR representative. (It is also a good idea to read up on how to answer “What are your salary expectations?” in case that question arises in your interview.)
Now that you are prepared with strong questions to ask in an interview, don’t forget to practice aloud to help build confidence for when the big day rolls around.
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