Best Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

The Prepped Team

April 8, 2021

5 minutes

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When it comes to looking for a job, the interviewing process can be stressful.  One place  many candidates trip up is towards the end of an interview when they’re asked, “Do you have any questions for me?”

Many of us will prepare our answers to the most common interview questions, but we forget to prepare our own questions for the interviewer. 

Planning good questions to ask in an interview is a great opportunity to sell yourself as a well-prepared candidate who’s truly interested in the company and position. It’s also a time when you can interview the company to make sure it's the right fit for you.

Here are some of the best questions to ask in a job interview. 

Tips for asking questions in a job interview

Before you create your own list of questions, there are a few things you need to consider ahead of time.

Prepare questions before the interview

The line, “do you have any questions for us,” at the end of an interview stumps almost all of us. Even if you’re well-versed at maintaining an engaging conversation, you could draw a blank trying to come up with something on the spot. Better to prepare beforehand. 

There’s nothing wrong with using the same questions for multiple interviews, so create a list of four or five questions ahead of time. If you’re doing an interview remotely, there’s nothing wrong with sticking a Post-it Note to the side of your screen to help you remember! 

Know what not to ask

Before reviewing the types of questions that should be on your list, let’s cover the kinds of questions you should avoid asking. Asking questions is a common part of the interview process, so it’s important to know how to approach it.

Here’s what you should avoid:

  • Close-ended questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”
  • Questions that could be answered by a quick internet search (for example, what the company does)
  • Personal topics (age, relationship status, children, etc.)Employers are not allowed to ask you these, so you shouldn’t be asking them either.

Go for a variety

It’s easy to get fixated on one topic, especially if you’re coming up with questions on the spot. Preparing questions on a variety of topics can help mitigate that. Remember, this interview isn’t just about seeing if you’re the right fit for the position, you also need to determine whether it’s the right company and position for you.

You don’t have to—nor should you—stick to position-specific questions. It’s okay to ask about the department team, the company itself, and the overall working environment and philosophy. 

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Best questions to ask in an interview

There are endless possibilities when it comes to what you can ask in an interview, and it’s important that you ask the right questions to help you decide if the role is a good fit for you. 

Many interviewees focus on questions they think will impress the interviewer, but your list should be questions that are important to you. If the perfect role for you means giving back to the community, ask what social impact initiatives the company is involved in or what volunteer opportunities exist. Likewise, if your focus is your career future, ask questions about career progression and opportunities available to employees.

This is the ideal opportunity for you to interview the company and your future manager, so use it to your advantage!

Questions about the job

With job-specific questions, you have a chance to learn a little bit more about the role you hope to step into. Examples of job-specific questions include:

  • What made the previous person in this role successful?
  • What are the immediate projects you’d be working on?
  • What’s the most important skill that you see for the person in this position?
  • What are the biggest challenges with this position?
  • What does a typical day look like?

Questions about career progression

Questions about Career progression not only help you evaluate your potential future at the company, but they indicate to the employer that you’re interested in building a future with the company. Some questions you can ask include:

  • What is the typical career path for this role?
  • How often do senior roles become available for consideration?
  • Can you provide an example of a senior role and what their duties would be?

Questions about the company and/or department

With company or department-specific questions, it’s important to make sure you aren’t asking questions that you could simply find on Google.

  • What is the biggest challenge the company is currently facing?
  • What is the biggest opportunity for this company?
  • How does this team serve the company as a whole?
  • Who do you consider your major competitors?

Questions about the corporate culture

Corporate cultures can make or break your experience in an organization. Asking these questions can help gauge how well you might fit in:

  • Tell me about the last team event you had.
  • How is this company different from the previous places you’ve worked?
  • How would you describe the work environment here?
  • What’s the team like?

Questions about the vision, mission and values

Growth is important not only for you but the company as a whole. Asking questions about what the company stands for and where it’s going can help you assess your future there.

  • What is the company’s plan for development and growth?
  • Can you think of a time that the company made a decision that prioritized its values over revenue?
  • Where do you see this company in five years?

Questions about the interview process

Waiting can be nerve-wracking, especially when you’re interested in the job. Asking questions about the process can give you an indication of how long it might take. 

  • What are the next steps in the interview process?
  • Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?
  • Is there anything I can address about my background or experience in this role?

Questions specific to the interviewer

Asking a prospective manager questions in the interview is a great opportunity to get to know them a little better and their attitude towards the company.

  • How long have you been with the company?
  • What’s your favourite aspect of your role?
  • What’s your favourite part of being with the company?

Prepare your interview questions

You want to create a solid list of questions that you can ask in any job interview. It’s great to ask questions specific to this company or job opportunity, but a fall-back list can help ensure you’re never at a loss for something to ask.

The information you learn when you ask your own questions is also valuable when it comes to creating the messaging for your thank you notes. You’ll have a better chance of standing out if you can include something personal that you connected on. 

Visit the Prepped Blog for more tips and tricks to master your next interview!