Do you know which questions to ask your interviewer?

As an experienced job seeker, you understand how important it is to properly prepare for a job interview. You know that an interview can provide you with your best opportunity to make the positive impression you need to secure a job offer. However, it's not enough to simply be prepared to answer questions during the interview. You also need to know which questions to ask your interviewer when you hear the words, “Do you have any questions for me?”

In this post, we'll explain why it's so important to determine the right questions to ask your interviewer and offer some simple tips that you can use to ask your questions in an effective way. We'll also provide some unique interview questions to ask an employer that you can customize to fit your needs.

Why you need to know which questions to ask an employer

Before you can even begin to prepare your questions for the interviewer, it's important to understand why these questions matter. And make no mistake - you never want to say that you have no questions for the interviewer, since that may make it seem as though you're not serious about the job. Instead, you want to have several potential questions in mind before you walk into the interview - questions that can help you to accomplish any of the following goals:

  • Determine if the employer and position are right for you

  • Demonstrate your genuine interest in the opportunity 

  • Discover whether the interviewer has reservations about your candidacy

If your question isn't geared toward achieving one of these goals, or it could be answered with a simple online search, then you probably shouldn't be wasting your time by asking it. Instead, stick to asking questions during the interview that will help you to determine whether you want to continue pursuing the job opportunity. 

Related post: Crafting a Compelling Response to Why This Position Appeals to You

Tips for asking your questions during an interview

It's also important to know which questions to ask your interviewer and the best way to frame your query. The following tips can help you learn how to pick the right questions and ask them the right way.

Be adaptable

It's important to not rely so much on your prepared questions that you end up covering ground that you've already discussed during the interview. Make sure that you're fully invested in the conversation so that you only ask questions that haven't already been answered. To avoid that mistake, it's usually a good idea to take notes during the interview so that you can immediately modify or omit any prepared questions that have already been addressed.

Related post: 10 Adaptability Interview Questions and Answers

Make sure that your questions are relevant

Some job seekers try to focus on questions that they think will make them look more impressive. That rarely works, however, since interviewers tend to notice that tactic. A better approach is to focus on questions that are relevant to the job, the company, and your qualifications for the position. Use your questions to clarify important concerns about the company culture, a typical day in the role, or the company's long-term goals for the position.

Personalize the questions you ask your interviewer

It's also important to make the questions you ask your interviewer as personalized as possible. The goal here is to help the interviewer picture you in that role by phrasing questions in a more personal way. Take this question for example:

“What near-term projects does the company expect your new Marketing Manager to lead?”

It's a good question, but it lacks the personalization needed to help the interviewer visualize you in the role. Here's a better way to phrase that same question:

“As your new Marketing Manager, what types of new projects will I be taking on in the first few months on the job?”

Obviously, that second question practically invites the interviewer to picture you in that position. That personalization can have a powerful effect on the interviewer's perception of you and may even increase the likelihood that they'll view you as a top contender for the job.

Ask questions throughout the interview

It's also important to understand that you don't have to save all your questions for the end of the interview. The best interviews are conversations rather than interrogations, and there may be plenty of opportunities for you to ask some of your questions throughout the process. Just make sure that you're asking questions that are relevant to that part of the conversation.

Top insightful questions to ask an interviewer

As promised, we've also compiled some of the top insightful questions to ask your interviewer. You can review these example questions and use them as a guide to help you create your own questions as you prepare for your next interview. We've grouped them into separate sections for organizational purposes.

Questions to ask about the job

Sometimes, interviewers don't provide enough details about the position and its responsibilities during the interview. When it's your turn to ask questions, you should try to elicit more information about those duties and the skills you'll need to perform the job. Those details can often help you to determine whether you even want the position. Some examples of these types of questions include:

  • What can I expect from a typical work week once I'm hired for the position?

  • Can you tell me a little more about the types of challenges I can expect to encounter as your new HR Manager?

  • How will my new role contribute to the company's mission and overall success?

  • What are the most important skills and experiences I'll need to rely on if I'm hired for this position?

  • What are the company's expectations for any changes in my responsibilities over the next year?

  • Can you describe the type of projects I can expect to be working on when I start in this role?

  • How quickly can I expect to be immersed in my new job's full range of duties and responsibilities?

  • How will my success be measured? Are there set metrics or objectives that play a role in any evaluation of my performance - and if so, what are they?

  • How often can I expect to receive feedback, both in terms of formal performance reviews and informal feedback?

Questions to ask about the company

It may also be important to ask specific questions about the company. Obviously, you should do your homework and learn as much as you can from available sources, including the company website, social media, and news reports. Still, chances are that you may not find answers to all your questions, so use your interview to get a better understanding of the organization you're trying to join.

  • What is the company's main goal at this time, and what role can I play in achieving that mission?

  • I've read the company's values statement, and it appears to align with my own professional and personal values. Can you elaborate on how the company works to live up to those values?

  • I know this industry is undergoing a lot of changes right now. How has this company changed in recent years and how does it plan to continue to adapt to this evolving business landscape?

  • What type of growth does the company expect to see in the next few years?

  • What expectations do you have for my team and its contribution to the company's success?

  • Does the company have a mentor program in place?

Questions to ask about your supervisor and team

If your job requires you to work in collaboration with others, you'll probably want to know more about what you can expect from your team. After all, your ability to interact effectively with your coworkers could determine your success in that role. That same principle also holds true when it comes to your supervisor. By asking questions about the team and your boss, you can more effectively assess whether the job you're seeking is really a good fit for your skills and work style.

  • Do you know who my direct supervisor will be - and could you tell me a little bit about their management style and expectations?

  • Does the company plan to add more people to this team in the next few months?

  • How does my team interact with other departments within the company?

  • Can you provide any details about the team that I'll be joining?

  • How do the members of my team typically collaborate on projects? Do they work together on every stage of the process or complete various parts of the project independently?

  • Can you tell me more about the people I'll be supervising in this role?

  • Are there any team-related challenges that I should be aware of before I begin working in this role?

Related post: How to Effectively Answer the 10 Most Common Interview Questions About Your Teamwork Skills

Questions to ask about the workplace culture

While it can be difficult to identify a toxic work environment during an interview, there are some questions that can help you to get a better understanding of the workplace culture. Other questions can help you to learn more about how the company operates.

  • Can you describe the onboarding process that I can expect to experience after I'm hired?

  • Is there anything I should know about the company culture to ensure that I come into the role with the right mindset for success?

  • Is there anything about the company that surprises most new employees when they first start working here?

  • What types of company events take place throughout the year?

  • Can you describe the typical work-life balance for employees at the company?

Related post: How to Prepare for Company Culture-Fit Interview Questions

Questions to ask about career opportunities

Some of your questions should be designed to help you better understand your long-term prospects at the company. The following career opportunity questions may help you to learn more about issues related to professional development and progress in your career path.

  • What can I expect in terms of training, learning, and career development in this role?

  • Have there been any employees in the company whose career paths started with this job?

  • How much does the company rely on internal promotions to fill upper echelon roles?

  • Are there opportunities to learn new skills or other roles?

Questions to ask about the interviewer

Sometimes, the best questions to ask your interviewer focus on their experience at the company. Asking about the interviewer's time at the company not only shows interest in them as a fellow professional, but also offers a way to learn more about the company from someone who's lived that experience.

  • How has your role changed since you first started working at the company?

  • What excites you most about the company's future and your role in its success?

  • Are there any challenges that you face on a regular basis?

  • What type of job did you do before you took on this role?

  • How many years have you been with this firm?

  • What advice would you offer to help me prepare for my first day in this position?

Related post: 20 Unique Interview Questions to Ask Employers

Questions to avoid

There are also questions that you don't want to ask during the interview. They include the following topics that could leave the interviewer with a bad impression:

  • Questions about your references or background checks. If they want to check your references or conduct a background check, they'll let you know. Never ask questions that may give the impression that you're worried about what they may discover.

  • Questions about specific benefits and policies. Things like salary, benefits, and schedules will either be discussed during any job offer negotiations or mentioned by the interviewer during the interview.

  • Questions that show that you haven't done your homework. That would include any questions about what the company does, of course. If you're not sure, you shouldn't be applying for the job.

Know the right questions to ask your interviewer and make the best possible impression!

When an interviewer asks you whether you have any questions for them, it's important to use that opportunity for maximum effect. Of course, you won't need or want to ask every question that we've included in this post, but chances are that some of them will be relevant to your needs. So, figure out which questions to ask your interviewer and ensure that you leave them with the best possible impression of you as a job candidate.

Are you still unsure whether you're prepared with the right questions to ask your interviewer? Get the help you need today by consulting with our expert interview coaches!

This article was originally written by Amanda Augustine and has been updated by Ken Chase. 

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