Want to ask questions at your next job interview? Here are a few examples!
You're in an interview for your dream job and the nerves kick in. You want to stand out and make an impression, but you don't know what questions, if any, are best to ask during an interview. Do you save them for the end? Do you ask when they pop into your head, or do you hold off and wait for a follow-up call?
When interviewing, asking questions can show recruiters and hiring managers how interested you truly are - and the right questions can tell you important information about the company, to make sure that you make the correct choice. Interviewing is typically thought of as the company determining whether you're the right fit, but you shouldn't treat an interview that way. Securing a job with a company where you don't fit in with the culture or agree with the mission can be a frustrating and discouraging situation.
Here are 20 of the best questions to ask in a job interview to help you to wow recruiters, while digging for the important information you need to know.
Common interview questions to ask interviewers
1. What career development opportunities would I have with the company?
How the company answers this question will tell you how much value is placed on employees. Asking this question will also show recruiters and hiring managers you're interested in a long-term position, where you can not only help the company to grow, but can develop your skills, as well.
2. How does this position help with meeting company goals?
The answer to this question will tell you how the position you're interviewing for will make an impact on the company. Every single position assists in meeting objectives and goals, but how it does this is not always communicated clearly. The hiring manager's response will give you a better idea of how your daily activities will make an impact and will allow recruiters to see that you're interested in more than just doing your job.
3. What do the first 90 days in this position look like?
This question will reveal what's expected of you in terms of accomplishments. Generally, the first 90 days are still a learning period, so how recruiters answer this question can reveal how heavy a workload will be expected. Also, asking this question will allow you to highlight or reinforce any qualifications you have which could assist in meeting these goals.
4. How would you describe the company culture?
Asking about the workplace culture will tell you about the atmosphere you could be entering. If you're a talkative, energetic employee, you wouldn't be a good fit for a company where there's minimal interaction or communication other than about work. If you feel the culture is a good fit, you can express your desire and enthusiasm for potentially working in it.
5. Is travel involved in this position and, if so, how much?
Generally, if travel is a required part of the position, it will be expressed in the job description or during the interview. Asking how much time is dedicated to travel is a great way to make certain that you don't accept a position where you're uncomfortable with a major aspect of the role. This will also allow employers to see how you react to their answer.
If the position you're seeking allows for a hybrid approach to working at home and in the office, you may also want to ask for clarification about that schedule. How often should you be in the office? What support will the company provide for your home office, if any? Are there additional tools or equipment that you'll need while working remotely? These and other questions can help you to avoid any misunderstandings and enable you to make a more informed decision before you accept the job.
6. Where do you expect the company to be in five years?
When joining a new company, you want to make sure that it's preparing for, and actively seeking, growth. Asking about the short-term goals and expectations will give you a sense of the direction the company wants to go in and how much growth it strives for. You can highlight any qualifications you feel are pertinent to achieving these goals, thus increasing your attractiveness to the company.
7. What is the best part of working for this company?
If you have several interviews with a company, you'll be interacting with several employees. This question can be presented in each interview and gives you great insight into the company. Answers will vary and tell you a lot about how the company treats employees, the culture, and other aspects of the atmosphere.
8. Is there anything on my resume I can clarify for you?
If a recruiter or hiring manager has a question then generally you will be asked, but this is a polite way to ensure that there are no questions outstanding at the end of the interview. Alternatively, you could ask the interviewer if there is anything on the resume that gives them hesitation about hiring you. Both of these questions can help to resolve any qualms the interviewers may have about continuing with your application.
9. What would you say is the biggest challenge in this position?
Every position has a set of unique challenges, so knowing beforehand will help you to decide if the challenge is something you can overcome or would rather not handle. If you feel it's a good fit, and you will succeed in overcoming the challenge, let the recruiter know how you feel and showcase any qualities that are important.
10. What does a typical workday look like?
The answer to this question will reveal what your potential daily routine will be like and give insight into what your future could be with the company. Depending on what you're looking for in a career, this question will give you the knowledge necessary to determine how good of a fit this company and position will be. If the answer is something you turn your nose up at, then you should continue looking.
11. Can you tell me about the last person who filled this role and the skills that made them successful?
There are several reasons why this can be one of the top interview questions to ask during your interview. It allows you to ensure that your expectations about the role are consistent with the company's needs, while demonstrating that you're focused on matching your skills to the position. It's also a question that can provide you with key information about how the job fits within the company's overall structure and operations. Perhaps most importantly, the interviewer's answer may lead to an opportunity to draw attention to the skills that qualify you for the role.
12. What can you tell me about the company's management style?
There are a couple of ways to ask this question, of course. You can either ask this general question about how the company manages people and resources, or ask a more specific question that focuses on the managerial style of your prospective supervisor. Either one can express your interest in learning more about how the company values its people and the systems and processes it uses to leverage its human resources.
You should try to ensure that you ask some form of this question, so that you better understand the company's culture and relationship with its team. This is even more important if you're one of those people who prefers certain types of management styles to others. For example, if you only thrive in managerial environments that allow you a great deal of latitude to make your own decisions and resolve problems, you'll want to know if your new supervisor leans toward a more authoritarian style of management.
13. How does the company track and measure employee engagement?
Employee engagement is a hot topic these days. While companies are still struggling to fill open positions, many are also having a difficult time keeping their existing employees fully engaged in their jobs. As a result, this can be one of the best interview questions to ask, since it demonstrates your understanding of the importance of maintaining a focused and engaged workforce.
Depending on the answer you receive, this question can naturally lead to other questions focused on employee productivity, job satisfaction, and the overall wellbeing of the workplace. Most employers understand that workers are at their most productive when they are fully engaged in their work, with increased efficiency and higher quality results. By focusing on issues that matter to employers, you can ensure that you make the best possible impression.
14. Can you describe how the company puts its values into practice?
This question can enable you to get an even better understanding of any prospective employer's true values. While a company's website might provide some clues about its stated values, it's important to understand that those broad statements may not always align with reality. Often, companies claim to hold a certain set of values, but operate their businesses in ways that run contrary to those stated beliefs.
The idea here is to elicit details that demonstrate the company's commitment to living its values. Do their training and employee development reflect a stated commitment to empowering their employees? How much time do they invest in recognizing and rewarding employee behavior that matches the company's values? Perhaps most important of all, are the company's practiced values in alignment with your own personal and professional priorities?
15. What processes does the firm use to manage constructive criticism and other feedback?
Every company has its own way of addressing feedback, so it's helpful to find out as much as you can about prospective employers' processes for providing constructive criticism. By asking this question, you can draw attention to your own willingness to receive feedback, which demonstrates an openness to receiving criticism and advice. Employers will appreciate that openness and recognize your desire to learn from your shortcomings and continually improve your performance.
16. Can you give me an idea of how this department collaborates with others in the company?
With this question, you can show your interest in the collaborative aspects of the company's culture. Think of it as a way to learn more about how the company functions, which colleagues and departments you'll most likely be dealing with on a regular basis, and what priority the company places on teamwork. It's also a great way to express your own appreciation for the important role that teams play in any business enterprise.
17. Does the company have a coordinated strategy for coaching and mentoring? If so, how does it work?
Company support for training and employee development is just one of the ways that businesses can help their employees to improve their skills and advance their careers. Some of the best companies also focus on strategic coaching to ensure that every worker has an opportunity to increase skill levels and become more valuable as an employee. Even if the company you're interviewing with hasn't implemented a formal mentoring or coaching plan, you may be able to gain some insight into the degree to which more experienced colleagues are able and willing to provide that guidance.
18. How does the company promote work-life balance for its team members?
These days, it is sometimes difficult to believe that there was once a time when work-life balance was an afterthought. Fortunately, most employers have come to realize and appreciate that their employees have lives outside of the office, and the best firms work to accommodate those needs. As a result, you should feel comfortable asking about the company's commitment to helping their employees to achieve that balance. After all, if the job you're seeking is at a company that has no respect for your personal life, it's best to know before you accept the position.
19. Can you describe the type of projects or initiatives I would be involved with in the first month after being hired?
This question may or may not yield a meaningful response, depending on whether or not a member of management is sitting in the interview. If it's just a hiring manager, you can probably omit this question, since they're unlikely to be as familiar with the position's current assignments. However, if you're fortunate enough to have a member of your immediate management team in the room, that can be a great opportunity to gain some insight into what the company expects you to work on for the first few weeks after you're hired.
This is also a great way to show that you're truly interested in the position. From the interviewer's perspective, questions about your immediate duties can assure them that you're serious about the job and want to be as prepared as possible. Note that this question can also be useful if the job description is overly vague and doesn't provide any clear indication about the employer's short-term expectations.
20. What does the onboarding process look like for new hires?
If you can ask this question with confidence, you can effectively convey that you know you're the right person for the job. Asking about the onboarding process lets the interviewer know that you're already preparing your mind to step into the role and focused on ensuring that you have all the information you need to hit the ground running. It is also a great way to elicit additional information about the hiring process.
Tips to help you to use these interview questions
Some job candidates struggle to ask interviewers questions, especially if there are multiple interviewers in the room or on the video call. Nervous job candidates may freeze and ask no questions, or ask pointless questions about vacation time, paid leave, or other issues that are best reserved for job offer negotiations. The following tips can help you to feel more comfortable asking these types of questions and ensure that you make the best impression possible.
Do your homework
Always make sure that you take time to research any company that you want to work for. Learn about its history, mission, and stated values, so that you can tailor your questions to fit the company. One of the best ways to do this is to visit the company's website and read through all of its main pages. This approach can usually help you to avoid asking about issues that are public knowledge. For example, if you ask the interviewer to describe the company's values when that information is publicly available on the firm's website, the interviewer is likely to wonder why you didn't do your due diligence.
Write down your questions before the interview
Before an interview, prepare by writing down the questions you want to ask during the interview. Each opportunity will have different needs, but it's a good idea to have a master list of solid questions to ask during any interview. You can later edit and tailor the list to each company you're applying for. You can use the research you gathered to refine those questions. You can then either memorize your list or just take notes with you to the interview.
Make sure that most of your questions focus on the company and the job role
Always try to focus your list of questions on the company and the position you're seeking. One of the best ways to make a truly positive impression on an interviewer is to ask probing questions that express your genuine interest in the company and the position. That's why so many of the top interview questions we've included in this post are focused on the employer's goals, the role you might play in helping the firm to achieve those objectives, and similar topics.
Don't forget to ask about other members of the team
Teamwork is a must in any successful company, so always make sure that you ask some questions about the team you'll be working with and how everyone collaborates to accomplish their mission. These team-oriented questions can help you to gain insight into the company's culture and to give you a better idea about whether the company is a good fit for your needs.
Never ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no
Every question that you ask should be open-ended, to provide the interviewer with an opportunity to expand beyond a simple yes or no answer. A question like, “is there room for career advancement in this organization?” may not elicit much detail, since the interviewer might just say, “yes.” However, if you ask that interviewer to describe the company's approach to employee development and internal promotion, you're likely to receive a more in-depth response.
Timing is everything
As a rule, you should try to save your questions for the end of an interview. If the opportunity arises, you can ask during the interview, but only if it makes sense to ask in the moment. For example, don't ask about management style when you're being questioned about your accomplishments. Interviewers routinely ask candidates if they have any questions, so that's a great time to start probing for information.
Now is not the time to talk about money – unless they ask
Make sure that you don't ask about compensation, benefits, or perks during the job interview. Remember, job interviews are designed to give you the opportunity to sell yourself as the best candidate for a job. Focus on that task and avoid any discussion of money or benefits until the company formally offers you the position.
Of course, if your interview goes so well that the interviewer offers you the position on the spot, feel free to ignore that advice!
It's all in the preparation
To succeed in any job interview, there are few things more important than solid preparation. As you prepare for your next interview, don't forget to decide which type of questions you want to ask the interviewer. Hopefully, this list of the top interview questions provides you with the insight you need to ensure that you're fully prepared to make a great first impression and land that coveted job offer.
Need help practicing your interview skills? Learn more about TopInterview's coaching services.
This article was originally written by Felicia Tatum and was updated by Ken Chase in 2023.