Having the right questions to ask during an interview is very important for a couple of reasons. First, this will help you to learn more about the job and the company to determine if it is the right fit for you. But also, and more importantly, this is a key way for you to communicate some key things to the interviewer. By asking good questions, you can show that:
• You have taken the time to do your research and homework
• You are very interested in the job
• You are diligent with what you pursue and with the decisions you make
• You have an understanding of their business and the job they are looking to fill
If asking good questions is key, how do we figure out what to ask? Before we work on the questions to ask, we should be doing some research on the company, the industry, and the job. The information gathered while going through this research should provide good questions to ask. And while you should have some questions that are specific to the interview, there are many questions that can be used in any interview.
Below are some examples of standard questions to ask during an interview. Note that these are outlined in the categories of Company, Organization, Job, and Close. These are categories that work well for organizing your questions ahead of time and also for asking them during the interview as they start at a high-level and then work down to the job.
• What is the company’s long-term strategy? Growth, merger, acquisitions, get acquired, etc.?
• How is the company differentiating itself from the competition?
• What is the biggest threat? Biggest opportunity?
• Ask about recent news or press releases.
• Ask how recent trends or news are impacting the company.
• What is the organization structure like – size, levels, reporting structure, communications, management style, etc.?
• What is the culture of the organization like?
• What are the responsibilities of the job?
• What are the expectations and associated timeline?
• What is the typical day in this job?
• What will be the biggest challenge?
• Why is the position being filled?
• What training materials will be available?
• What compensation details can you share?
• What is the typical career path for someone in the position?
• Why would someone want to work for the company?
• What is the process that you will work along to fill this position – steps, decision makers, decision making factors, etc.?
• What would you consider the perfect candidate?
• Is there any reason that you think I would not be successful in this role?
• How do I compare to the other options you are considering?
• Is there anything that we have discussed that makes you concerned whether I am the right choice? Anything that makes you think I would be the right choice?
• Based on our discussion, are we going to continue forward to the next step in the process?
This by no means is a comprehensive list of questions to ask during an interview and is simply a guide to help you to develop your own list.
During the interview, it is important for you identify how much time you have to ask questions. Somewhere toward the end of the interview, the interviewer will basically pass the meeting over to you and ask you if you have any questions. At this point you will want share that you do have interview questions and ask how much time you have left together so you can make the most of the time we have left. The answer to this will determine how many and which questions you ask. If time is limited, focus on the lower part of the list above as those are the important questions to ask during an interview.