Questions to Ask in an Interview

unsplash-logoTim Gouw

So, you’ve got an interview. Great! Now what? At some point during the interview, your interviewer is going to ask “Do you have any questions?” and you’ll want to be prepared.

Why? When you’re looking for a job, it’s easy to feel desperate and you might want to take the first job that is offered to you, even if it’s not a good fit. This is a big mistake though. You don’t want to be stuck in a job that you hate. So take this opportunity to learn more about the company and the position, so you can determine if this position is right for you.

Asking questions also shows that you’re prepared for the interview and are interested in the position.

Questions you can ask:

 Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?

This will help you better understand the job, so you’ll know if it will be a good fit for you. For example, if you are a people person and the interviewer tells you that you’ll be working alone in front of a computer all day, then maybe this isn’t the job for you.

This question will also give you an idea about what skills you’ll need to do this job. Maybe you don’t have those skills. Or maybe you do. Then you can talk up those skills in the interview.

 How will my job performance be judged? How often would I be formally reviewed?

Your employer is going to evaluate you. Don’t you want to know how?

 What do you like best about working for this company?

This gives you some insight into the company’s culture. Also, what if the interviewer can’t answer the question or takes a really long time to come up with an answer. What does that tell you about the company?

Can you show me examples of projects I’d be working on?

You want to know what you’re getting into at this job.

What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?

What if you have some of the required skills or experiences, but you didn’t put them on your resume? Now’s the time to let your interviewer know!

On the other hand, maybe you don’t have anything they are looking for. I once sat through a terrible interview where I had none of the skills or experiences they were looking for (In my defense, the job description was super vague). I did not feel good about myself. Clearly, the interviewer didn’t read my resume though, or they would have known I was not even remotely qualified for that position. It’s best to find out whether you’re qualified or not early in the hiring process.

How will I be trained?

Does this company have a structured training program, do they expect you to figure everything out on your own, or something in between? It’s good to know.

Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?

If you’re going to be working with a team, this is a great question. Again, it lets you know if you’ll be a good fit. What if they tell you the team is made up of 60-year old white men and you. Do you feel comfortable with that? Or would you prefer to work in a more diverse environment?

Is there a career path that someone in this position would be expected to follow?

This gives you an idea of what advancement opportunities, if any, there are in this position.

 What are the next steps in the interview process?

This lets you know when they plan on conducting second interviews or contacting candidates in the future.

If I were hired for the position, what would be the ideal starting date?

The hiring process at large companies, universities, and hospitals can be painfully slow. The length of time between the initial application, the first interview, a second or third interview, and the job offer can be months. Can you wait months? Alternately, they might want someone to start next week. Can you start that soon?

Tips:

  • Be prepared to ask at least two questions.
  • Avoid asking yes/no questions.
  • Don’t ask questions that have already been addressed during the interview.
  • Don’t ask about salary or benefits just yet, save that for future interviews.
  • Don’t ask questions that are easily answered on the company’s website, it will show that you didn’t do your homework.