What (and What Not) to Ask the Interviewer
BY ALISON DOYLE
It’s your turn! As your job interview comes to a close, one of the final questions you may be asked is, “What can I answer for you?” Your interviewer will expect for you to have some questions.
Not asking any questions could make you seem unprepared or disinterested, so take the time to have some questions of your own ready to ask the hiring manager.
Plan ahead and have interview questions of your own ready to ask. You aren’t simply trying to get this job—you are also interviewing the employer to assess whether this company and the position are a good fit for you.
Have Questions Ready to Ask During the Interview
Asking questions is a great way to dig into the company culture and the specific day-to-day responsibilities of the job so that, should you be hired, your first week or so in the position won’t be accompanied by any major surprises.
Asking questions can also give you the opportunity to further highlight some of your qualities, skills, and experience, and show the employer why you’re a terrific match for the job.
Best Questions to Ask the Interviewer
Here’s a list of suggested questions to ask the interviewer so you can ensure the company is a good match for your qualifications and interests.
Duties and Requirements
- How would you describe the responsibilities of the position?
- What are you looking for in a candidate?
- What are the biggest challenges of this job?
- How would you describe a typical day in this position?
- What is the typical work week?
- Is overtime expected?
- What’s the most important thing I should accomplish in the first ninety days?
- How much travel is expected?
- Is relocation a possibility?
- How many people work in this office/department?
- Who does this position report to? If I am offered the position, can I meet them before making my final acceptance decision?
- What is the company’s management style?
- Do you have a policy for helping new members of the team get on board?
- What are the biggest rewards of the job and working for this company?
- What is the best part of working for this company?
- What’s your least favorite part of working here?
- What type of background do you feel would be best suited for success in this position?
- Why is this job available? Is this a new position? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do?
- What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
- How does one advance in the company?
- Are there any examples of a career path beginning with this position?
- Do you provide professional development opportunities?
Mission and Vision
- How would you describe this company’s values?
- How has the company changed over the last few years?
- What are the company’s plans for growth and development?
- Is there anything I should have asked you about?
- Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?
- Is there anything I clarify for you about my qualifications?
- If I am extended a job offer, how soon would you like me to start?
- When can I expect to hear from you?
Questions to Avoid Asking
There are some questions that you should avoid asking since they won’t present you in a positive light.
- What does this company do? (Do your research ahead of time!)
- If I get the job, when can I take time off for vacation? (Wait until you get the offer to mention prior commitments.)
- Can I change my schedule if I get the job?(If you need to figure out the logistics of getting to work, don’t mention it now.)
- Did I get the job? (Don’t be impatient. They’ll let you know.)
Guidelines for Asking Questions
While you don’t have to ask every question on the list above, having a few good questions ready will help you look like an informed and prepared candidate for the job. Here are some other things to keep in mind when preparing your own list of questions.
- Avoid “Me” Questions: “Me” questions are those that put yourself ahead of the employer. These include questions about salary, health insurance, vacation time, work hours per week, and other concessions. During an interview, you are trying to demonstrate to the employer how you can benefit the company, not the other way around. Once you are offered a position, you can begin to ask what the company can do for you.
- Ask One Question at a Time: Avoid multi-part questions; they will only overwhelm the employer. Each question should have one specific point.
- Avoid “Yes” or “No” Questions: Most questions with a “yes,” “no,” or another one-word answer could likely be answered by searching the company’s website. Instead, stick to questions that will create a dialogue between yourself and the employer.
- Ask Questions About Multiple Topics: Avoid asking questions about just one subject. For example, if you only ask questions about your manager and his managerial style, the interviewer may assume you have an issue with authority figures. Ask questions about a variety of topics to demonstrate your curiosity and interest in all aspects of the position.
- Don’t Ask Anything Too Personal: While it is a good idea to try to establish a rapport with your interviewer, do not ask personal questions that are not public information. For example, if you see a college banner on the employer’s wall, you can certainly ask if he went to that college. However, avoid overly personal questions about the interviewer’s family, race, gender, etc.
More Questions Listed By Job
Depending on the type of job for which you’re interviewing, there are specific questions you may want to ask your interviewer in various fields.
- Administrative / Office
- Phone Interview
- Second Interview
- Part-Time Job
- Work-at-Home Job
Questions You’ll Be Asked
In addition to preparing a list of questions to ask thehiring manager, it’s also important to review the most common interview questions you’ll likely be asked so you can think about how you will answer.
Count on answering questions about your experience and qualifications, speaking to your greatest strengths and weaknesses, detailing how you handle success and failure, and discussing what sets you apart and why you’re worthy of consideration.
Questions Employers Should Not Ask
There are some interview questions, typically known as illegal interview questions, that employers should not ask during a job interview. Asking about your race, age, or any disability are some examples of questions that are illegal for potential employers to ask you.