Top Questions to Ask during a Job Interview

There comes that moment in every job interview when the hiring manager asks that question–a question that many candidates dread:

“What questions do you have for us?”

It somehow feels like a trick or a trap. Is there only one right answer?

Breathe easy. It’s not a trap. It’s standard job interview protocol, and it gives prospective employers a sense of YOU.

Listed below is a list of questions you can ask at the end of an interview. Create your top ones because depending on the time you might not be able to ask all of them.

Be ready. To give you a leg up, here are questions you can ask during your next job interview:

Questions About the Job:


1. What does a typical workday look like?

It’s imperative that you have a full understanding of the duties you will be undertaking on a day-to-day basis. If the job description mentioned multiple responsibilities (e.g. administrative, creative, tech,) you will want to know the ratio of these duties. If it’s 95 percent admin and that is not your strength, you need to know this going in, and so too does the employer. This question will allow you to better visualize your daily work life. should you get hired?

Pro Tip: Occasionally interviewers will respond with ambiguity to your question, saying something like: “Oh, you know, every day is different.” If this occurs, try framing the follow-up question in a new way: What did the last month look like for the person currently on the job? , What took up most of their time?


2. What does it look like for an employee to be successful in this position?

This is a great question to ask because it telegraphs to the interviewer that you are focused on making a positive contribution to the company starting on Day One. You are eager! Actively listen to the interviewer’s response because their answer tells you about their expectations. The traits they provide can be used in your follow-up thank-you note.

Pro tip: Putting a spin on this question, you might ask the interviewer: “What’s been the most gratifying day you have had working for this company?” This will cause the interviewer to take pause, reflect, think about their own experience, and share a story. This takes them OUT of interviewing you and you are now interviewing THEM. Their response will also tell you a lot about them as a possible colleague, and could potentially illuminate some surprising, positive things about the company.


3. What do you see are the main challenges of this job?

This will likely yield some vital information about the prospective job you would NEVER get from the job description. Perhaps the boss occasionally asks people to work weekends or untraditional hours. Maybe there is tricky office politics. Maybe the job has intense deadlines that can create stress for the team. These are all important considerations if you should receive a job offer.

Pro Tip: If you want this job and the interviewer divulges the main challenges of the work, then ask if you can handle these challenges. Say “Yes.” Hiring managers want people with a “can do” attitude.


Questions About Being Successful in the Role


4. What Should a Person Accomplish in Their First Month and First Six Months in this Position?

This question is about one thing— the learning curve. How much will you be expected to grasp and produce in your first 30 days? How much will you have to grasp in your first six months? This question indicates that you want to learn and grow and you want to stick around for a while! It will also tell you how much homework you’ll have as a newbie.


5. What Makes for a Great Person in this Role?

This question gets straight to the point of what the hiring manager wants. Hiring managers aren’t interviewing candidates in the hopes of finding someone who will do an average job; they’re hoping to find someone who will do a GREAT job! And this question says that you care about the same thing. Sure, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll do extraordinary work, but it makes you sound like someone who’s at least aiming for this goal. You want to telegraph that you are conscientious and driven. These are important attributes in a hiring manager’s assessment of you.

Pro Tip: Again, listen closely to the answer to this question. It can give you a much more nuanced insight into what it’ll take to truly excel in the job.


Questions About the Company and its Culture


6. How Would you Describe Your Company Culture?

Company culture is more important than ever. A happy, vibrant, dynamic culture is one where the employees feel valued and listened to and this makes for better productivity. Workplace culture, through personalized employee recognition or group social gatherings, contributes to employees feeling appreciated. And when they feel appreciated they do their best work and stick around. Listen closely to how the interviewer responds to this question. If they glow and sing the praises of their workplace, this is where you want to work. If they hesitate or speak in half-compliments, you can infer that the culture likely has some level of toxicity. This is another red flag. This question will tell you if the company prioritizes employee happiness, as well as work/life balance.

Pro Tip: You want to work somewhere with a positive vibe. According to the Global Culture Report from the O.C. Tanner Institute which studies organizational culture, “Highly fulfilled employees plan on staying at their organizations 3 years longer than unfulfilled employees.”


7. Ask the Question You Really Want to Ask.

Before the interview, spend some time reflecting on the things you want to know about the job. If the company is not transparent about pay, ask them about it. If benefits are important, ask. If you like collaborating, ask what opportunities exist to work with a team. Maybe you have heard that the company is not financially stable, politely inquire about this. An interview is a two-way conversation. Ask the questions you care about.

Pro-tip: Manners, grace, humility. These are all important characteristics. You can ask any question, but the way you phrase it, with kindness and intelligence, says much about you! Think about your questions before your interview occurs.   


8. What is the Timeline for the Next Steps?

You deserve to know when you will hear back on a decision. When does the position start? If there is training, how long will it take and will you be compensated? These are all important questions to ask. Some companies never respond to a candidate if they don’t hire them. You need to know this so you are not sitting around, waiting anxiously for an email or a phone call. You need to know the timeline for the company and its decision.

Pro Tip:   If you are told a decision will be made in two weeks and you don’t hear back, this allows you to check in with the employer and reconnect with them.

Even though times are uncertain and unpredictable, there is still plenty of opportunity for you if you are seeking a new career. Never forget, you are your own advocate. It’s up to you to pursue the job you desire and to stand up for your beliefs and your needs first and foremost. With these questions in mind, you will be able to get the information you need to do just that. 

Check out our other blog posts here for more helpful career advice and tips. 

Spread the love