Smart Questions to Ask An Interviewer

You’ve made it!

After months of preparing your resume, writing cover letters, and submitting applications, you have landed a job interview. Congratulations! Now comes the hard part: actually making sure you get the job.

One of the best ways to impress a potential employer is by asking smart, thoughtful questions during an interview. Let’s break down how to ask the right questions in order to make a lasting impression.

Questions About the Role Itself

This is your chance to show off that you have done your research and learned all you can about the position.

Pro tip: Don’t ask questions for something you could have figured out in your research ahead of time.

  1. What are the day-to-day activities of this role?
  2. How does the position contribute to the success of the organization?
  3. How well do people with my background adjust to working here?
  4. Is there a career path that someone in this position would be expected to follow?
  5. What does success look like in this role and how do you measure it?
  6. What does it take to be successful here?
  7. What types of people are the most successful here or in this role?
  8. What would you consider top accomplishments for someone in this role over the next year?
  9. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve seen people in this role or team encounter? OR What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job?
  10. What would my first week at work look like?
  11. What are 3 obstacles that someone in this role would need to tackle or resolve in the first 90 days OR What’s the most important thing I should accomplish in the first 90 days?
  12. What are the most immediate projects that I would take on?
  13. Who would I be working with the most?
  14. How would I exceed your expectations on a short-term basis, say, in the first 30 to 60 days on the job?

About the Company

  1. What challenges has this company faced in the last few years? What challenges do you anticipate in the coming years?
  2. What changes or innovations in the industry are you most excited about?
  3. Who do you see as your biggest competitor and why?
  4. I’ve read about the company’s [insert some company thing], but can you tell me more about…?
  5. What are some problems your company faces right now, and what is your department doing to solve them?
  6. What are the current goals that the company is focused on, and how does this team work to support hitting those goals?
  7. What gets you most excited about the company’s future?
  8. How has the company changed over the last few years?
  9. If I want to do well in this role, what skills can I focus on?
  10. Where do you see the company two years from now?

About The Team

  1. What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?
  2. Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
  3. Who will I work with most closely? What other departments or units will I interact with?
  4. Is there anything that I should read before starting that would help me have a shared understanding with my colleagues?
  5. What advice would you give to a new employee working here?
  6. Does your team primarily work in an office, remotely, or both?

About Your Boss

  1. How would you define your management style?
  2. How is feedback given to employees?
  3. How do you help your team grow professionally?
  4. What qualities do your very best employees have in common?
  5. How do you describe your ideal candidate to fill this role?

Questions About Company Culture

Company culture matters! This is going to be where you are spending 40+ hours a week spread out over multiple years (hopefully). Asking about company culture shows employers that you are looking for more than just a paycheck; you are looking for a place where your skills will be used and valued.

  1. How would you describe the company culture?
  2. What are the most important values of your company? What characteristics do you look for in employees in order to represent those values?
  3. What do you/the employees like most about working here?

Fun Questions

  1. What’s your favorite office tradition?
  2. What’s different about working here than anywhere else you’ve worked?
  3. What’s one of your favorite memories of working here?
  4. Why did you choose this company?

Closing Questions/About You

  1. Is there anything I’ve said that makes you doubt I would be a great fit for this position?
  2. Is there anything I could improve upon to be more qualified for this role?
  3. Is there anything else I could tell you about myself that would help you with your decision?
  4. What am I not asking you that I should?
  5. Is there anything I can clarify for you about my qualifications?
  6. What’s the next step in the interview/hiring process? OR What processes are typically used when making decisions around hiring personnel beyond initial interviews? (For example group interviews, evaluation tests/assessments, reference checks, etc.)

At its core, interviewing is a conversation between two people; use it as an opportunity both to highlight why YOU deserve this job, but also why THIS job deserves YOU!

Being prepared with smart questions can demonstrate your enthusiasm and knowledge about the role and organization, leaving employers feeling confident about their decision to bring YOU on board as their newest team member! Good luck in your next interview – may all your conversations go well!

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