November 23, 2020
Your job interview is almost over and the hiring manager has given you a lot of valuable information about the position. As the conversation is coming to a close, they ask, “Do you have any questions for me?”
This question is typically asked at the end of interviews and it is a critically important part of the conversation. Resist the temptation to say no, even if you’re confident the job is a good match for you. In fact, interviewers expect you to ask questions—it signals that you’re invested and serious about the job.
Use the tips and sample questions below to learn how you can ask smart, meaningful interview questions.
Why it’s important to ask questions
It’s a chance to learn more
Your interview gives the hiring manager insight into your professional experience, qualifications and accomplishments, but it’s also a great time for you to learn more about the company and job. Focus on asking questions about topics that weren’t covered, or topics you would like to discuss in greater detail.
Asking questions shows your interest
Asking thoughtful questions in your interview reaffirms your interest in the job. It also shows the hiring manager that you’ve thought seriously about what it would mean to be employed in this role at this company. With the right questions, you’ll be able to illustrate your knowledge of the company and industry, along with your drive to excel in the new position.
It supports a memorable final impression
Getting to the interview stage is already a sign that you’re a top candidate. With thoughtful questions, you can continue to stand out from other contenders and demonstrate that you’re a great fit for the role.
Related: 21 Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression
The preparation process
How many questions should you prepare?
Because the hiring manager will cover a lot of information in the interview—and may unknowingly answer the questions you plan to ask—consider preparing up to 10 questions. You may want to write your questions down in a notebook or portfolio that you bring to the interview. Refer to this list when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions?” and select two or three questions that weren’t covered earlier in the interview. Choose questions that demonstrate you were engaged and listening, and ones that can help you learn more about the job.
Research the company
Researching the company is an easy way to understand the company’s history, mission and values. A great place to start is by browsing the company’s website. You can also search the internet for recent news articles. Use the information you find to help shape your questions. Your initiative will be well-received because it proves you took the time to learn about the company and industry.
Think of the interview as a conversation between yourself and the hiring manager. Practicing your questions in advance can make you more comfortable and give you a confidence boost the day of the interview. Spend time in a quiet place rehearsing your questions out loud, in front of a mirror or with a friend or family member.
Related: Top 16 Interview Questions and Answers
Questions to ask in an interview:
1. Can you elaborate on the day-to-day responsibilities this job entails?
2. What are the characteristics of someone who would succeed in this role?
3. What’s the most important thing I could do within the first 90 days?
4. What are some of the challenges people in this role encounter?
5. How would my performance be measured?
6. What does the career path for someone in this role look like?
7. What other functions or departments does this team work with most often?
8. What does your job look like day-to-day?
9. What do you like best about working here?
Types of questions to ask
About the job
The hiring manager may have already covered information about the job’s functions, but this is the ideal time to get more details about the day-to-day responsibilities, expectations and goals. You could ask:
- What does a typical day look like for a person in this position?
- What are your short- and long-term goals for a new hire with this job title?
- How has this role grown or adapted to suit the needs of the organization?
About the company
Asking questions about the company reveals that you’ve done your research and gives you a better picture of the company’s outlook, values and culture. Plus, it gives the impression that you’re interested in growing with the company long-term. Consider asking:
- Why do you enjoy working here?
- How would you describe the company’s culture?
- What kind of growth does the company expect to see within the next five years?
- Can you describe some of the company’s recent challenges and achievements?
Related: What to Expect in an Interview and 10 Steps to Prepare
About your qualifications
Make sure the hiring manager doesn’t have unanswered questions about your qualifications. If they do, this is a prime time to emphasize how your talents align with the role. These types of questions could sound like:
- What qualities do you look for in a candidate?
- Do you have any concerns about my experience or skill set?
- Are there reservations regarding my fit with the role or company?
About the next steps
Save your final question to ask about the next steps in the hiring process. You’ll convey your interest in the job one last time as well as learn about the hiring timeline, potential additional interviews or when you can expect to hear from them. You might say:
- I’ve really enjoyed learning more about this opportunity. What are the next steps in the hiring process?
- Thank you for explaining the role to me in such depth. When might I hear back from you regarding a decision?
Related: 9 Best Questions to Ask Your Interviewer (With Video Examples)
Topics to avoid
If you’re still in the early stages of the interview process, avoid asking questions about salary, benefits, vacation time or company perks. Questions about these topics should be saved for when you are formally offered the job. If you ask about these things too early, you could send the message that you’re more interested in how the company can benefit you, not how you can contribute to the company.