Job interviews are built on questions and answers. While for a majority of any job interview, you will be the one responding to questions and prompts, it doesn’t end there. An interview is a two-way street. Not only is it a chance for your interviewer to determine if you are a good candidate for the job, but it’s also an opportunity for you to interview your interviewer and determine if this is the right job for you.
Following a job interview, your job interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for them. This is a great opportunity for you to ask so strategic questions to help you gauge company values, company culture, working conditions, additional details or specifics of the job, what does the company use as markers or standards of success for the position you’re applying for and a whole lot more.
A lot of people take for granted the portion of the interview where the interviewer gives applicants the chance to ask questions, and just ask some random, unplanned questions on the fly for the sake of looking prepared with questions, though they may not have actually put any thought into them. If you are a savvy job seeker (and we know you are), you will want to put some thought and preparation, considering what is important to you in a company so that you know what areas you want to address and know more about.
The questions you ask are also a reflection of your interest in the position and the company. Thoughtful questions show that you are also looking for a good fit and are not desperately just hoping that this company or any company will hire you. And this leans highly in your favor, because employers don’t want a desperate, opportunist job seeker who will float around from job to job at a whim. They want someone who actually wants to be at their company, furthering their mission and goals. That type of person is likely to be a loyal and dedicated employee, which companies appreciate a whole lot.
Not all questions are good questions
While we agree that there are no stupid questions, there are some that you should avoid asking because they can make you look completely unprepared, like you’re only concerned about money or that you aren’t a hard worker who will be dedicated to the job. Before we get to the questions you should ask during your interview, here are the questions to avoid asking.
Questions to avoid asking at your job interview
- What are the hours of the job (or will I have to work long hours)?
- Do work hours matter as long as I get my work done?
- What do I do if I don’t get along well with my coworkers?
- Can I work from home?
- Do you conduct background checks?
- Do you monitor emails and internet usage?
- What kinds of things result in termination?
- What is the salary?
- Did I get the job?
- Am I or will I be eligible for a raise?
- What is your average raise like?
- What does the company do?
- When can I take a vacation?
The questions you should be asking
Okay, now that those preliminaries have been laid out, what kinds of questions should you be asking at your next job interview? It turns out there are a whole lot of really good and strategic questions that go beyond the day-to-day duties and company culture. All of these are important considerations as you consider a company you’d like to work for. Job happiness is dependent on 10 factors, including your relationship with your coworkers, with your boss, your salary, feeling appreciated, growth opportunities and more. Asking the questions below can help you figure out if the job can provide careerbliss.
However, don’t run through a list of 60 questions. Instead, several questions that give you a good understanding of the company, in the areas you really care about–whether that be company culture, your daily duties, what the team or boss is like, etc. Be prepared with several questions in case some of them have already been answered in the course of the interview, which often happens. Make sure you have a good 5 or 7 questions to avoid being stuck without any questions if everything has already been answered. Remember, good, strategic questions make you look particularly excited about the job, and like someone who does their due diligence before randomly jumping into something new.
Without further adieu, here are some great questions you actually should be asking.
The job and your role
- What does the day-to-day of this position look like?
- What projects or tasks need to be immediately addressed upon hire?
- Are there any opportunities for job shadowing for applicants prior to accepting an offer?
- What would my first week on the job look like?
- Do you have examples of projects I’d be working on?
- How does this position fit into the company’s overall success?
- What does your ideal candidate look like?
- How does the culture of the company affect the role, or vice versa?
- What attributes does someone need to have in order to be really successful in this position?
- What types of skills are you looking to add to the team through the person who fills this position?
- What are the biggest challenges of this position?
- Is this a new role that has been created or did someone hold this position before? If so, what did they do right (or wrong) that you hope their replacement will do or not do?
- Are the main responsibilities of this job expected to change significantly in the next six months to a year?
- What are the markers of success you’re looking for in the first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job?
- What is your favorite part of working at the company?
- How long have you been with the company?
- What does your typical day look like?
- What would you say is you or your team’s greatest accomplishment at this company?
- Has your role changed since you’ve been here?
- What did you do before joining this company?
- Why did you come to this company?
Training and Career Development
- What is the onboarding and new hire training like?
- Are there additional training opportunities to continue growing?
- Where have successful employees who held this position previously moved on to?
- What kind of opportunities for advancement or professional development does the company offer?
- Are their opportunities to attend industry conferences and workshops?
- Do you have a mentor program or opportunities for mentorship?
- How does one become a top-performer at the company?
- What’s the company and team culture like?
- How would you describe the work environment here—is the work typically collaborative or more independent?
- Can you tell me about the last team event you did together?
- Is there a formal mission statement or company values? (Note: Make sure this isn’t Google-able!)
- What’s your favorite office tradition?
- What do you and the team usually do for lunch?
- Does anyone on the team hang out outside the office?
- Do you ever do joint events with other companies or departments?
- What’s different about working here than anywhere else you’ve worked?
- How has the company changed since you joined?
Performance and Reviews
- Can you explain the performance review process at the company?
- What does the company do to recognize outstanding work?
- How frequent are the performance evaluations?
- What are the key projects or tasks you’d like to see someone accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job?
- What metrics or goals do you use for measuring performance?
- What do you expect from the person who fills this position in their first year on the job?
- On average, how long do employees stay with the company?
- What is the company’s mission statement, and how does it strive to fulfill it?
- What gets you most excited about the company’s future?
- What are the biggest challenges the company faces?
- What short-term and long-term goals does the company have?
- Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
- Are employees competitive or team-oriented?
- Who will I work with most closely?
- Who will I be reporting to?
- Which departments will I work closely with?
- What are the strengths of anyone who reports to me?
- What are the biggest challenges within the team?
- Do you expect to hire more people in this department in the next six months?
- How is teamwork and morale developed among employees?
- What are the common career paths in this department?
The Hiring Process and Moving Forward
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
- Is there anything I can address that might be concerning you?
- Can I answer any final questions for you?
- Can I provide any examples of my work that might aid in the decision-making process?
In any job interview, understanding and practicing responding to commonly asked questions is important to help you feel comfortable and in control of the interview. In the same way, preparing a list of questions in advance is an important aspect of the job interview process.
You don’t have to depend on your memory for instant recall of the questions you most want to ask. Take some time to jot down the questions you want to ask of your interviewer, and you’ll feel less stressed and more ready to ace your job interview. Interviewers appreciate seeing that you come prepared.
The CareerBliss Team
Your career happiness is our #1 priority here at CareerBliss. To help you succeed in your career, we offer a wide variety of tools and resources to help you out along the way. Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!