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How to Answer This Interview Question:
Do You Have Any Questions?
50+ Good Questions to Ask the Interviewers

By Susan P. Joyce

50+ Questions to Ask in Your Job Interview"Do you have any questions" is one of the top interview questions.

Be prepared with your questions to ask them. Employers typically view job candidates who don't ask questions as un-interested in them and the job. Not good!

As described below, some questions are better asked at the beginning of the interview while others are better for the end.

Also, different questions are appropriate for different people -- the hiring manager, the co-workers, and the recruiter and human resources.

View this as a great opportunity --

The best way to avoid taking a job you will hate (resulting in another job hunt too soon) is to learn as much as you can about the job, the employer, your boss, your coworkers, and the environment before you accept the job offer.


Different Questions for Different Stages of the Interview Process

If the employer is not local for you, the first interview may be a phone interview, a Skype interview, or a one-way video interview.

If the employer is local for you, the first interview may also be a phone interview which is often called a "phone screen" because that's what usually happens. They screen applicants to determine who may be a qualified candidate to be invited in for a face-to-face interview.

If you see the same people again in a 2nd or 3rd round, as part of the interview process for the same job, you probably should not repeat a question unless you want to follow up on something another interviewer said. Hopefully, by that point in the interview process, you hopefully will have learned enough about the person and the job to have developed new questions to ask.

Questions to Ask at the Start of the Interview

At the start of the interview, understanding the people who are interviewing you will help you provide answers appropriate to the person's role in your work life. You will also become a bit more comfortable talking with the interviewer(s), hopefully turning the interview into a discussion rather than a series of questions and answers.

Ask These Questions to Learn About the Interviewer

You should be introduced to each person interviewing you before an interview begins. Make note of the person's name, and ask for their job title if it isn't provided. Ideally, you should receive a business card from the interviewer that contains all relevant information, including their contact information.

Particularly if the person will be a co-worker or your manager, understanding what motivates their questions and interest in you will give you more insight into both them and the job. You will also be able to ask the most relevant questions.

  • How long have you worked here?
  • How long have you been in this job?
  • Who is your boss? Where is your boss located?
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • Why are you successful here?
  • If the interviewer would be your boss, ask: How would you describe your management style?
  • If the person is not a recruiter or the hiring manager, ask: Will we work together? How?

Understanding more about the person will help you choose the next questions to ask, and also help you keep their responses in perspective.

These questions are most relevant when you are meeting an interviewer for the first time. If you are returning for a second or third round of interviews with the same person, you should already know the answers to these questions, so repeating them is not necessary or smart.


Questions for the Main Part of the Interview

Once you understand who is interviewing you, you can move on to asking these questions as appropriate during the interview.

Ask These Questions to Learn About the Job

Ask questions that will help you determine if you would actually like the job, and be able to do it well.

  • Why is this position open? Is it a new position or a replacement for someone?

    • New position is usually good (sign that the organization is probably growing).
    • If the job is a replacement, ask if the employee transferred to another part of the company, was promoted, or left the employer.

      NOTE: Be wary of an employer with many employees leaving constantly. People leave for a reason, and the reason may be because this is not a good place to work.
  • How long does someone typically stay in this job?

    You don't want a job that is filled every few months, particularly if the people who have had it in the past left the organization.
  • How many hours a week does someone in this job typically work? Is overtime (technically more than 40 hours/week) accepted or expected? Do employees sometimes work from home?

    This question helps you understand if you will be expected to put in long hours. Unless you are paid on an hourly basis, the more hours you work, the lower your actual hourly pay. So, getting an increase in pay may be offset by working more hours.
  • Who does the person in this job report to? What is the boss's job title, and where are they located?

    If the manager and the person in this job don't work in the same location, ask where the manager is located.

    Of course, skip this question if you are being interviewed by the hiring manager.
  • What is the salary grade for this job? What is your lowest salary grade? The highest?

    Do NOT ask the salary yet! Ask about the "salary grade" which is where the job ranks in the organization. These answers give you an idea of how much you can grow in this job.
  • What can you tell me about this job that isn't in the description?
  • What is the key to success in this job?
  • What are your future plans for this job?
  • What are the prospects for growth for the person in this job?
  • How do people grow in this job?

    Do they have OJT (on the job training), pay for training, or are you responsible for your own training?
  • How often is this job open?
  • What is a typical (day, week, month, or year) for a person in this job?

    Choose multiple time frames, if that feels appropriate.
  • What is the toughest time of (day, week, month, or year) for a person in the job? Why?
  • What is the key thing someone does to be successful in this job?
  • How is success in this job measured by you? By the organization?
  • What are the most important skills of the person who does this job?
  • What is the biggest challenge someone in this job faces on a daily (or weekly or monthly) basis?
  • If anyone has failed at this job, why did they fail? What mistakes did they make?
  • Who does the person in this job report to?

    (If this job reports to more than one person, ask who writes the performance report.)
  • Is there travel associated with this job? Where and how often?
  • Where is this job located?

    Ask this question if it isn't clear where the person will be working. You might be able to work from home, or the job might be at a different location than where the interview is happening.

Understanding more about the job will help you decide if the job feels like a good fit for you. The questions above will also give you an idea about the kind of working environment you would be joining -- the corporate culture. That culture may expect people to work 50 hours a week (or more) and in the office.

Ask These Questions to Learn About the Organization

Visit the employer's website and do some quick Google research before the interview. Search for reviews of the employer's products or services, the executives, and other news. Also search for reviews ot the products or services.

  • What can you tell me about this organization that isn't widely known?
  • What is the key to success in this organization?
  • How many people work in this group (department, office, and/or company)?
  • How many have joined in the last year?

    In a fast growing company, several people could have been added. In a tough place to work, several people could have left.
  • How many people have left in the last year?
  • Where do people usually go when they leave this group (another company or another part of this company)?
  • How long do people usually stay in this organization?
  • How do you define (or measure) "success" here?
  • How would an employee know if they were considered a success or not?
  • How does someone get promoted in this organization?
  • How does senior management view this group?
  • Where do you see this group in five years?
  • When and how is feedback given to employees?
  • If regular performance reviews are done:

    • What is the time between reports?
    • Who writes them?
    • Who contributes to them?

Ask about anything else in your preparation that raised questions for you. Read Smart Google Research for Successful Job Interviews for leveraging Google before the interview.


Ask These Questions at the End of the Interview

As the interview winds down, or when the interviewer has indicated that the interview is ending, you need to ask these end-of-the-interview questions.

Tell the interviewer that you are very interested in the job and enthusiastic about joining the organization. Then, finish by asking these questions.

Ask Questions to "Close the Sale"

Use your judgement about the interviewer and the situation. Some interviewers will like this approach and the confidence you are demonstrating by asking these questions, but others will not. Do what feels comfortable and appropriate to you.

These questions are usually best in one-on-one interviews. If it feels appropriate, ask:

  • Do you think I could be successful in this job?
  • Is there any other information you need? Any concerns or questions about me or my qualifications for this job?

If they answer these questions (and they might not!), those answers will give you an indication of how well you did in the interview and perhaps an opportunity to clarify a question they might have about your qualifications to do the job.

Ask the "Housekeeping" Questions So You Know What Happens Next

Then, be sure to ask the 5 essential MUST-ASK "housekeeping" questions so that you will understand how the employer's hiring process works -- what comes next and who will be your contact. If you don't ask these questions, you will have no idea when you will hear from them next or where they are in their process which will be very stressful (and discouraging) for you.

Or, you will be in contact with the wrong person at the wrong time, and look either desperate or annoying.

Consider Asking the Employers the "Common Interview Questions"

During the interview, consider flipping the top interview questions around to ask the interviewers these questions, too, usually after you have answered them, and modifed as appropriate to fit the situation and apply to the employer and interviewers.

Depending on the organization's culture and the people interviewing you, this could be a great strategy or a deadly one. So use with caution!

Hopefully this approach will help turn the interview into a conversation which provides you with useful information about them and their corporate culture.

And, it MAY encourage the interviewer to ask questions carefully, knowing that you will respond with a similar question about them.

This approach isn't appropriate for every interview questions, but this is how it works:

  • Tell me about yourself.

    After you have answered the tell-me-about-yourself question, ask them to share a bit about themselves, particularly if the interviewer is the hiring manager or a team member you would be working with every day.

    Their answers will help you understand a bit more about what information would be more useful and interesting to them in the interview and also help you understand if you have anything in common with them.
  • Greatest strength and/or weakness.

    After you have answered the strength question, ask them what strengths are best or most useful for success in their organization.

    After the weakness question, ask them which weaknesses are least damaging or most prevalent in their organization.
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years.

    After answering this question, ask them where they see the organization (and/or that part of it) in 5 years.

You get the idea. Don't make all of these questions personal about the individual interviewer, but, particularly when the interviwer is the hiring manager, do learn what you can.

In general, the more you understand about them, the easier it will be for you to decide if you want to work there. And the more informed your decision will be.

When possible, make the questions about the whole organization. If they seem offended by the first question, you can stop asking.

DO's and DON'Ts for Asking the Best Questions in Your Job Interview

Your goals are to gather as much information as you can about the job and to make a good impression on the interviewer(s). Asking good questions, as above, will help you do both.

Be sure to send a thank you after EVERY interview! For help, see the articles in Guide to Writing Thank You Notes After a Job Interview including Sample Thank You Notes (and Emails)

DO Ask Good, Relevant Questions in Your Job Interview

  1. Try not to ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. You want more information, and people will usually provide that if you ask "open-ended" questions, like the questions above.
  2. To make your best impression and be well-prepared, take the time to research the organization and the people before the interview. This research will help you formulate the best questions and also understand the organization and opportunity much better.
  3. Presumably you know the job title and job description, so ask other relevant questions about the employer and the job.
  4. Take notes. Bring a notebook or note pad, and write down relevant information as your questions are answered (like the names and job titles of the interviewers).

Important Do NOT's:

  1. Don't feel obligated to hold your questions to the end of the interview.
  2. Based on the answers you receive, don't be afraid to ask follow-up questions. Ask! Turn the interview into a discussion.
  3. Don't feel that you must ask all, or even half, of these questions or that these are the only questions to ask. Use this list as a starting point. Pick out the questions that are the most important to you, and add more based on your experience and interests.
  4. Don't ask personal questions about the interviewer or anyone else who works there.

Don't just mechanically go through the list of questions above -- that will be interpreted as lack of interest and/or lack of intelligence. Neither interpretation will be good for your candidacy.

For more, read Killer Do's and Don'ts for Job Interview Success.

Bottom Line

Gather as much information as you can in the job interview. Decide if you really want this job in this organization working with these people. Then, be prepared for the whole process to take too much time. NEVER stop your job search and wait for a job offer to come. You are probably one of at least three other candidates for any job, and they may well choose someone else -- or not fill this job.

More About Succeeding at Job Interviews

About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.

Guide to the Most Common Interview Questions (with Sample Answers)






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