15 Of The Best Questions To Ask In An Interview

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If you’re preparing to interview for a new job, you’ve probably given some thought to the kinds of job interview questions you might be asked and how you’ll answer them. But have you considered which interview questions you’ll ask the hiring manager?

Ask the right interview questions, and you can learn a lot about how the role is structured, what success looks like in this position, and what the expectations are for the person who takes the role. Think of it as your opportunity to find out what it would be like to do the job–before you commit to a job that may or may not be right for you.

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15 Best Questions To Ask In An Interview 

Leave time in your job interview prep to brainstorm questions to ask the interviewer. These questions can be far-ranging. Think about what you need to know to make a decision and include questions about job duties, organizational structure, company goals, and the hiring process.

Questions About the Organization

One of your goals at a job interview should be to learn more about the company than you can from researching it before the interview. But make no mistake: you should do that research. Never ask anything that you could find out from reading the company’s website, scanning their social media, or reading news stories about the organization and its competitors.

What are the company’s goals and how does this team help achieve them?

Not every corporate goal makes it to the mission statement portion of the company website. This question allows you to find out more about what the team is currently focusing on and what you can expect to do to help them achieve it, should you take the job.

I know that [X issue] is a big challenge in this industry. How does this role and team help to overcome it?

This question shows that you’ve done your research and understand the landscape. It also helps you understand some of the challenges of working in this job.

How does this position fit into the organizational structure?

If you ask only one question about the company, make it this one. It’s essential to know where you would be in the reporting structure. To whom would you report? Would you have any direct reports? Which team members would be your most constant contacts?

Questions About the Job 

Unfortunately, formal job descriptions often become catch-alls, containing the duties and responsibilities of every similar job that’s ever been available at the organization. To find out what you’ll really be doing, ask questions about duties, responsibilities, skillsets, and other requirements.

Why are you hiring for this job?

Is this a new role or are they filling the position? Pay attention to how the HR representative or hiring manager describes the situation leading to the open role. It may help you determine the typical tenure of someone in this position and where they go after they’ve worked in it for a while.

What does success look like in this position?

This question lets you narrow down that kitchen-sink job description and identify the key duties and responsibilities in the role. Use your follow-up to show off your most valuable skills, experience, and qualifications.

What’s a typical career path for someone in this role?

You never want to ask when you’ll be promoted, but the answer to this question gives you a sense of whether people rise in the ranks after holding this job or stagnate where they are.

What are the most important goals for this position?

Think about whether these goals dovetail with your own professional aspirations. Also, use this as a chance to share stories about your success with similar goals.

What does the ideal candidate have to offer in terms of skills and experience?

Highlight the ways in which you’re the perfect person for the role, especially if your resume doesn’t make that explicit.

Questions About the Company Culture

If you work full-time, you’ll spend about a third of your day with your coworkers. Find out whether you’re likely to enjoy that time. Company culture is also an important factor in your success at the job.

What does a typical workday look like in this job?

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It’s not just about job duties and meeting schedules. Pay attention to how the workday is structured and what that says about the culture. For example, if you’re an introvert, impromptu brainstorming sessions in an open-plan office are not ideal.

What’s your favorite thing about working here?

Again, the important thing here is whether the answer would also be your favorite thing about working at the organization if you take the job.

How does the team communicate and interact with one another?

Some people prefer to talk one-on-one. Others prefer Slack or email. Some need long periods of heads-down work. Others like to bounce ideas off of colleagues.

How would you describe your management style?

Interviewing with your prospective manager? Don’t miss the chance to find out their preferences about working with direct reports. One person’s support is another person’s micromanagement.

Questions About the Hiring Process

Don’t leave yourself wondering whether to expect a phone call. Close out your interview by asking about next steps.

What training programs do you offer?

These can include management training, skills training, and continuing education programs.

What DEI programs do you offer to support employees?

Diversity leads to better business results, so even if you’re not part of a group that needs direct support, it’s wise to ask about these initiatives.

What are the next steps in the process?

When you ask this question, be sure to emphasize that you’re excited about the job and eager to hear about the next steps.

Questions You Should Not Ask In An Interview

Unfortunately, job interviews also offer pitfalls as well as opportunities. Beware these questions that can work against you.

What does this company do?

Again, this is something you should know from your research. (Otherwise, how would you know if you even wanted to work at the company?)

When can I take time off?

Wait until later in the process to get details about paid time off, compensation, and other benefits–and when you do ask, make sure that it doesn’t seem like you’re planning to take a three-week vacation next month.

When will I be promoted?

There are smoother ways to ask about career development. Take care not to make it sound like you’re hoping to leave this role in the dust as soon as possible.

Do I need to pass a drug test/background check/credit check?

For obvious reasons, these types of questions are a red flag for hiring managers.

Tips For Asking Questions

  • Remember that a job interview is a conversation. Listen to what the interviewer is saying and don’t be afraid to divert from your prepared questions and answers. Look for opportunities to ask follow-up questions and clarify answers.
  • Keep it positive. Avoid gossip, criticism, or a focus on the negative.
  • Be enthusiastic. Now is not the time to play it cool. You don’t need to seem desperate, but make it clear that you’re excited about the job.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the best questions to ask an interviewer?

The best questions to ask an interviewer are those that clarify the role, offer a chance to provide insight into expectations and goals, and illuminate company culture.

What are the hardest job interview questions?

The hardest job interview questions are often behavioral questions, which focus on what a candidate would do in a given situation. Depending on the role, you may also be asked skills-based questions that require problem-solving on the fly.

What are the most common job interview questions?

Some of the most common interview questions include basic questions about the candidate’s career, skills, qualifications, and desire to join the team.

What are some illegal job interview questions?

Illegal interview questions include those about disability, marital status, or prescription medication.

The Bottom Line

Don’t let a job interview end without taking the opportunity to ask your own questions. You’ll learn valuable information about the organization, the job, and the experience of working at the company.

Ready to take your skills to a new role? Use ZipRecruiter to find jobs near you.