Thinking up questions to ask during job interviews is key. Remember, every interview is a two-way street. You should be interviewing the employer just as much as they’re interviewing you. You both need to walk away convinced that the job would be a great fit.
So when the tables are turned and the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” take advantage of this opportunity. It’s the best way to determine if you’d be happy working for this employer, and whether your goals are aligned with theirs.
Plus, asking questions is a simple way to convey your enthusiasm for the role and the organization that you’re looking to join.
But sometimes it’s tricky to think up questions to ask on the spot. So you should do your research, and come prepared with some questions to put your your interview.
Luckily, there are plenty of smart ones to pick from.
Here are a number of questions you should consider asking during your next job interview:
‘Have I answered all your questions?’
Before you begin asking your questions, find out if there’s anything they’d like you to elaborate on. You can do this by saying something like: “Yes, I do have a few questions for you — but before I get into those, I am wondering if I’ve sufficiently answered all of your questions. Would you like me to explain anything further or give any examples?”
Not only will they appreciate the offer, but it may be a good chance for you to gauge how well you’re doing, says Bill York, an executive recruiter with over 30 years of experience and the founder of the executive search firm Tudor Lewis.
If they say, “No, you answered all of my questions very well,” then this may tell you you’re in good shape. If they respond with, “Actually, could you tell me more about X?” or “Would you be able to clarify what you meant when you said Y?” this is your chance for a redo.
‘Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare?’
Amy Hoover, SVP of Talent Zoo, recommends this question because it’s a quick way to figure out whether your skills align with what the company is currently looking for. If they don’t match up, then you know to walk away instead of wasting time pursuing the wrong position for yourself, she said.
‘Who would I be reporting to?’
It’s important to ask about the pecking order of a company in case you have several bosses, Vicky Oliver wrote in her book, “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions.”
If you’re going to be working for several people, you need to know “the lay of the internal land,” she says, or if you’re going to be over several people, then you probably want to get to know them before accepting the position.
‘How has this position evolved?’
Basically, this question just lets you know whether this job is a dead end or a stepping-stone.
‘How would you describe the company’s culture?’
Hoover said this question gives you a broad view on the corporate philosophy of a company and on whether it prioritizes employee happiness.
‘Beyond the hard skills required to successfully perform this job, what soft skills would serve the company and position best?’
Knowing what skills the company thinks are important will give you more insight into its culture and its management values, Hoover said, so you can evaluate whether you would fit in.
‘Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?’
While this question puts you in a vulnerable position, it shows that you are confident enough to openly bring up and discuss your weaknesses with your potential employer.
‘What do you like most about working for this company?’
Hoover said this question is important because it lets you “create a sense of camaraderie” with the interviewer because “interviewers — like anyone — usually like to talk about themselves and especially things they know well.” Plus, this question gives you a chance to get an insider’s view on the best parts about working for this particular company, she said.
‘Can you tell me what steps need to be completed before your company can generate an offer?’
“Any opportunity to learn the timeline for a hire is crucial information for you,” Hoover advised.
Asking about an “offer” rather than a “decision” will give you a better sense of the timeline because “decision” is a broad term, while an “offer” refers to the point when they’re ready to hand over the contract.
‘What are the challenges of this position?’
If the interviewer says, “There aren’t any,” you should proceed with caution.
‘Can you tell me where the company is going?’
“If you’re talking to the leader of a company, that’s a great question to ask them, because they’re the best position to tell you that,” Robert Hohman, the CEO of Glassdoor, previously told Business Insider. “They should be able to articulate that really clearly. And it should be inspiring.”