Job Interview? Here Are the Questions You Need to Ask

Job interviews are about questions. That’s not exactly rocket science.

But while most people think about the questions they’re going to be asked during an interview, hardly anyone thinks about questions they will ask the interviewer. Asking intelligent questions shows your interest, your passion, and your initiative. It also gives you the chance to learn a thing or two about the position you’re interviewing for.

Don’t worry too much if you’re having trouble coming up with questions on your own — we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best questions to ask during an interview.

What are some projects I would be working on?

Asking this question shows interest in the day-to-day responsibilities the position would entail. It also helps you to understand if you actually want to pursue the job, or if another position would be a better fit.

After the interviewer answers this question, you might get an extra opportunity to show off your skills. For example, if they say you’ll have to run a profit and loss report every week, you can explain that you did this during your most recent internship. If they say you’ll have to draft a daily press release, you can discuss some recent ones you’ve written.

Are there opportunities for professional development?

Employers love to hire someone who wants to grow and develop. For a company, the hiring process is an opportunity to acquire an asset, and an asset is always more attractive if it has the potential to increase in value over time.

Ask if there are opportunities to attend conferences, training seminars, and other events. You should also ask if employees are encouraged to further their education with a graduate degree or certificate, and whether the company reimburses these expenses or if you’ll be responsible for the full cost.

Mention if you’re already taking extra classes on your own time or going to local conferences. This shows that you’re truly passionate about the industry.

How will my performance be evaluated? 

In some jobs, like sales, employees are evaluated based on predetermined targets. Other industries, like marketing, have several different ways that performance can be measured.

Ask how the review process works and how often performance is evaluated. Will you be evaluated annually with a formal review involving multiple supervisors, or will there be more casual or infrequent check-ins?

What’s your favorite part about working here?

This question allows the interviewer to explain more about the company culture. They may mention how there’s low turnover or that employees are encouraged to use their full vacation time.

The answer to this question also lets you see how enthusiastic the interviewer is about their employer. If they struggle to come up with an answer, that might be their way of saying, “I don’t like working here.”

What does this company’s future look like?

When asking this question, you should insert a fact you already know about the company’s future, like their plans to expand to a new market. This proves that you’ve already researched the company.

The answer to this question will also show you if the company is doing well financially, or if they’ve had to scale back due to poor earnings. In the latter case, your position at the company —  and the existence of the company itself — may be short-lived.

What are the biggest challenges with this job?

Like most other questions on this list, the answer to this one gives you a chance to demonstrate how qualified you are. If the interviewer says that the biggest challenge is corralling different departments together, you can respond with an example of when you led a group project successfully.

Does this job include more team-focused or independent work?

No matter what the answer is to this question, you should respond by showing that you work well as part of a team or by yourself. 

If the interviewer says this job is all about working as a team, share an example of how you successfully completed a group project. It’s best if your example is from an internship or a job. If you can’t think of anything, an example from a college class will suffice.

What Else to Know

Pick questions you care about

Sometimes the interviewer can tell that you’re asking questions just to ask them, not because you actually want the information. Pick two or three questions from the list above that actually interest you, so you can show genuine enthusiasm when you ask them.

As you do your research about the job opening, make note of more specific questions about the role, the company or the industry.

Be spontaneous

It’s good to have a few questions in your back pocket, but don’t be afraid to ask something that pops into your head during the interview. This proves that you were paying attention and that you’re a good listener.

Know which questions not to ask

During an interview, every prospective employee wants to know about PTO (paid time off) and working remotely. The problem is, asking these questions during an interview may be inappropriate. 

If you ask about vacation time before you’re even hired,  there’s a good chance you’ll come across as presumptuous. It also makes you look lazy, because you’re asking about taking time off before you’ve even started. Don’t ask questions about salary or benefits either. 

These are good questions to ask once you’ve received a job offer, because at that point you have the upper hand. Until then, be patient and keep these questions to yourself.

Be genuine 

Doing well in a job interview isn’t rocket science. As long as you do research beforehand, act confident and follow up afterward, you’ll have a good shot at getting the gig.

But while most people think about the questions they’re going to be asked during an interview, hardly anyone thinks about questions they will ask the interviewer. Asking intelligent questions shows your interest, your passion, and your initiative. It also gives you the chance to learn a thing or two about the position you’re interviewing for.

Don’t worry too much if you’re having trouble coming up with questions on your own — we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best questions to ask during an interview.

What are some projects I would be working on?

Asking this question shows interest in the day-to-day responsibilities the position would entail. It also helps you to understand if you actually want to pursue the job, or if another position would be a better fit.

After the interviewer answers this question, you might get an extra opportunity to show off your skills. For example, if they say you’ll have to run a profit and loss report every week, you can explain that you did this during your most recent internship. If they say you’ll have to draft a daily press release, you can discuss some recent ones you’ve written.

Are there opportunities for professional development?

Employers love to hire someone who wants to grow and develop. For a company, the hiring process is an opportunity to acquire an asset, and an asset is always more attractive if it has the potential to increase in value over time.

Ask if there are opportunities to attend conferences, training seminars, and other events. You should also ask if employees are encouraged to further their education with a graduate degree or certificate, and whether the company reimburses these expenses or if you’ll be responsible for the full cost.

Mention if you’re already taking extra classes on your own time or going to local conferences. This shows that you’re truly passionate about the industry.

How will my performance be evaluated? 

In some jobs, like sales, employees are evaluated based on predetermined targets. Other industries, like marketing, have several different ways that performance can be measured.

Ask how the review process works and how often performance is evaluated. Will you be evaluated annually with a formal review involving multiple supervisors, or will there be more casual or infrequent check-ins?

What’s your favorite part about working here?

This question allows the interviewer to explain more about the company culture. They may mention how there’s low turnover or that employees are encouraged to use their full vacation time.

The answer to this question also lets you see how enthusiastic the interviewer is about their employer. If they struggle to come up with an answer, that might be their way of saying, “I don’t like working here.”

What does this company’s future look like?

When asking this question, you should insert a fact you already know about the company’s future, like their plans to expand to a new market. This proves that you’ve already researched the company.

The answer to this question will also show you if the company is doing well financially, or if they’ve had to scale back due to poor earnings. In the latter case, your position at the company —  and the existence of the company itself — may be short-lived.

What are the biggest challenges with this job?

Like most other questions on this list, the answer to this one gives you a chance to demonstrate how qualified you are. If the interviewer says that the biggest challenge is corralling different departments together, you can respond with an example of when you led a group project successfully.

Does this job include more team-focused or independent work?

No matter what the answer is to this question, you should respond by showing that you work well as part of a team or by yourself. 

If the interviewer says this job is all about working as a team, share an example of how you successfully completed a group project. It’s best if your example is from an internship or a job. If you can’t think of anything, an example from a college class will suffice.

What Else to Know

Pick questions you care about

Sometimes the interviewer can tell that you’re asking questions just to ask them, not because you actually want the information. Pick two or three questions from the list above that actually interest you, so you can show genuine enthusiasm when you ask them.

As you do your research about the job opening, make note of more specific questions about the role, the company or the industry.

Be spontaneous

It’s good to have a few questions in your back pocket, but don’t be afraid to ask something that pops into your head during the interview. This proves that you were paying attention and that you’re a good listener.

Know which questions not to ask

During an interview, every prospective employee wants to know about PTO (paid time off) and working remotely. The problem is, asking these questions during an interview may be inappropriate. 

If you ask about vacation time before you’re even hired,  there’s a good chance you’ll come across as presumptuous. It also makes you look lazy, because you’re asking about taking time off before you’ve even started. Don’t ask questions about salary or benefits either. 

These are good questions to ask once you’ve received a job offer, because at that point you have the upper hand. Until then, be patient and keep these questions to yourself.

Be genuine 

Doing well in a job interview isn’t rocket science. As long as you do research beforehand, act confident and follow up afterward, you’ll have a good shot at getting the gig.

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