Many organizations are scrambling to fill open positions on their work teams. Likewise, many of those who were laid off or who are just entering the job market are competing to fill these spots. For both parties, the interview is an important part of matching the role with the right person. If you’re a job seeker, knowing what questions to ask in an interview can help give you stand out from the crowd.
- Do Your Research. Before you head into an interview do your research. Know as much as you can about the company who is interviewing you. Browse the website, find any connections you might have in common on LinkedIn, and use a site like Glassdoor to learn about their reputation. The more you dive in the more likely you are to find a job you love by knowing what questions to ask in an interview specific to their organization and culture.
- Be Specific. Prepare in advance to ask good questions that are specific to the role with the company. The questions to ask in an interview should show you’ve done your research and show that you are interested in learning more. If your interview is over the phone or Zoom, make sure you know the nuances between an in-person experience and a remote one to feel better equipped to ace a virtual interview.
- Put Your Best Foot Forward. First impressions matter, so make sure that nothing distracts from the important questions to ask in an interview. Make sure you show up on time and dress appropriately for the culture and role for which you’re applying. Remove any visual or auditory distractions from the background if you are in a remote setting.
Specific questions to ask in an interview
The Muse provides a list of 51 questions to ask in an interview. Pick and choose the ones that are most relevant to the role and the organization. Show you’re a good listener by not asking a question that’s already been answered. Having a few “go-to’s” and knowing when to use them or not will leave a strong impression with the interviewer. The Muse breaks their list of questions into topics that address the specific job, culture, training and professional development, performance, the company, the team, the interview him/herself, and next steps.
Here’s the full list:
- What does a typical day look like?
- What are the most immediate projects that need to be addressed?
- Can you show me examples of projects I’d be working on?
- What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?
- What attributes does someone need to have in order to be really successful in this position?
- What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?
- What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?
- What sort of budget would I be working with?
- Is this a new role that has been created?
- Do you expect the main responsibilities for this position to change in the next six months to a year?
- How will I be trained?
- What training programs are available to your employees?
- Are there opportunities for advancement or professional development?
- Would I be able to represent the company at industry conferences?
- Where is the last person who held this job moving on to?
- Where have successful employees previously in this position progressed to?
- What are the most important things you’d like to see someone accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job?
- What are the performance expectations of this position over the first 12 months?
- What is the performance review process like here? How often would I be formally reviewed?
- What metrics or goals will my performance be evaluated against?
- How long have you been with the company?
- Has your role changed since you’ve been here?
- What did you do before this?
- Why did you come to this company?
- What’s your favorite part about working here?
- I’ve read about the company’s founding, but can you tell me more about…?
- Where do you see this company in the next few years?
- What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?
- What are the current goals that the company is focused on, and how does this team work to support hitting those goals?
- What gets you most excited about the company’s future?
- Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
- Who will I work with most closely?
- Who will I report to directly?
- Can you tell me about my direct reports? What are their strengths and the team’s biggest challenges?
- Do you expect to hire more people in this department in the next six months?
- Which other departments work most closely with this one?
- What are the common career paths in this department?
- 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?
- Is there anything that concerns you about my background being a fit for this role?
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
- Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?
- Can I answer any final questions for you?
You won’t remember all of these, so don’t try to! Choose a couple of these questions to ask in an interview and get ready to impress your soon-to-be employer. And, if you’re an employer seeking good candidates, check out our recommendation of top 40 interview questions to find a good cultural fit for your company.